Leak no more: learn to tone your pelvic floor

We're often told to accept the things we cannot change…but how about we start changing some of the things we can't accept?
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We’re often told to accept the things we cannot change… but how about we start changing some of the things we can’t accept?

Take bladder leaks – throughout our lives we’ve seen our mothers and friends avoid laughing too hard, sneezing too forcefully, even jumping too much.

We learn that ‘It’s just a normal part of ageing/pregnancy/exercising,’ but then one day it happens to us, too. We think, ‘It was only a matter of time.’ Well, think again.

It’s time to put an end to embarrassing leaks. And understanding how leaks happen and how to prevent or treat them is getting easier – that’s something to jump for joy about!

Meet your pelvic floor. The pelvic floor muscles stretch from your tailbone to pelvic bone, creating a “hammock” that cradles, supports, and lifts your bladder, as well as your vagina, bowel, rectum, small intestine and uterus.

These, like any other muscle, need to be worked and challenged. However, unlike other muscles, they are not easily felt or seen, so they can be hard to isolate and easy to forget about… until there’s a problem.

Life is working against you to weaken those muscles: Time, pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, even strenuous exercise or excessive coughing – any or all of these can cause a loss of muscle tone.

This doesn’t happen overnight. Over time you notice that when you sneeze – you dribble. You laugh hard – you leak.

At first you manage it by subduing your reactions, exercising less strenuously, trying to control your coughs or sneezes, even resorting to wearing pads. Yet, those are literally stopgap measures. You can learn how to regain bladder control and enjoy a range of health and lifestyle benefits, including an improved sex life.

The solution lies at the core. You may have heard of Kegel exercises where you try to interrupt the flow of urine by squeezing, and which are often recommended by doctors to help people isolate those muscles located deep in the pelvic floor.

When you go to the bathroom, as you begin to urinate, you squeeze and hold to stop the urine flow for a few seconds, then you release. You repeat this exercise until your bladder is empty.

Once you recognise what it feels like to isolate the muscles responsible for regulating urine flow, you can practice when not urinating.

When done correctly, Kegels can help tone and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and over time you will notice improved bladder control.

However, it’s been found that simply clenching your pelvic floor can lead to over-shortening of the muscles, causing them to pull on your bladder and urethra, resulting in more leaks. If you clench them incorrectly, then you’re weakening the muscles further.

If only you could have a personal trainer like you would at the gym to help you learn how to get the results you need. Well, that day is here.

Aimed at the estimated 60 percent of women who haven’t been able to master freestyle Kegels, the KegelCore Pelvic Floor Exerciser and Toner is now available and can help make those Kegel exercises more intuitive.

It’s designed by women for women with the input of physicians and pelvic floor physiotherapists and helps you learn how to lift and squeeze the muscles correctly to regain control and confidence over your bladder function. (Mums, rejoice!)

Its interactive app syncs with your smartphone to provide you with descriptive exercises, guide you through the once daily five-minute workouts, and track progress of your muscle strength, endurance, and reaction time. It also creates reminders so that you don’t miss a workout.

Whether you’re daunted by the possibility of doing the exercises incorrectly or if you would just like the added motivation of your own personalised program, consider stepping your pelvic floor workout up a gear with a smart pelvic floor trainer. After all, these aren’t your mama’s Kegels!

Sponsored by the maker of KegelCore

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