Do you find laughing or coughing too much can cause a bit of a leak? Or maybe when you’re running you can’t hold your bladder as well as you used to? Well if this is you, now is the time to take action and find remedies for your weak bladder! As a Pilates teacher, I see many menopausal women who are struggling to control their pelvic floor and finding themselves feeling embarrassed about it.
Pelvic Floor Muscles
A weak bladder is due to a weak pelvic floor muscle. The pelvic floor muscle is a bit like a sling and it sits underneath the bladder, womb and bowel, holding everything in place, as shown in the diagram below. This muscle is really important to keep strong as it helps control your bladder and colon. The pelvic floor plays a big role in your sex life and helps you orgasm. It is probably the most underrated muscle in your entire body!
Over time, if the pelvic floor muscle isn’t strengthened, it will become weak. This is when bladder leakages occur as the muscle is no longer strong enough to hold a full bladder. It can also create the same issues with the bowel, if the muscle isn’t tightened.
The good news is – exercising your pelvic floor muscle is quick and easy. However, you need to exercise it every day to make an impact. There are several ways to do this but let’s start off with the basics.
Pelvic floor exercise plan
- Put an alert in your phone for the same time every day to set aside 5-10 minutes for your pelvic floor exercises. Make sure it’s a time when you know you can and will do it and not snooze the alert!
- Relax the muscles of your thighs, bum and stomach – these are not the muscles we want to engage.
- Think about when you are going for a wee, now think about having to stop that wee mid-flow! That is the pelvic floor muscle.
- Now, think about your back passage and when you are trying to stop passing wind, that is also the pelvic floor muscles.
- Combine the 2 moves together and think about trying to lift the muscles up. Hold this for 2 or 3 seconds, then release.
- Repeat this exercise until you can hold for the count of 8. Do this up to 8-10 times.
The great thing about exercising your pelvic floor is that you can do it lying down, sitting or standing and it really doesn’t take more than a couple of minutes.
The other ways to naturally exercise your pelvic floor is to use a device. There are several options on the market, many of which are detailed in the Weak Bladder section on www.menodelight.co.uk. My favourites are the following:
Je Joue Ami Kegal Balls
Kegal balls are a weighted set of balls. To see the benefits, these should be worn daily for around 15-20 minutes. Kegal balls are very popular,for several reasons, they are less expensive than some of the other devices on the market. They also give you the freedom to get on with your day whilst having the kegal balls inserted and exercising your pelvic floor. The Je Joue Ami Kegal Balls look beautiful, but they also do a good job at working your pelvic floor. They come in a set of 3 balls, all differing in weight and shape;
- Ami 1 is a large, soft and lightweight single ball. If you’re new to Kegel exercise products or you’re out of practice, we recommend starting here.
- Start with Ami 2 if exercising with Ami 1 doesn’t challenge you enough.
- Ami 2 is a medium-sized double ball that’s still soft, yet slightly heavier
- Ami 3 is a small, hard and heavy double ball – this is the most advanced Ami for experienced users.
Beginners should start with Ami 1, and gradually be able to progress to Ami 2 and Ami 3 as the muscle strength improves.
Kegal balls can also double up for sexual pleasure. Each Ami contains little balls that rumble around inside you, creating a discreet, arousing sensation even while you’re working out.
I have to say this is the device I personally use the most. I find it so easy to use and providing I set my alert on my phone each day, I use this without fail. I don’t really have to think too much about what I’m doing and don’t need to worry about if I’m exercising my pelvic floor muscle correctly or for long enough.
The Intimina KegalSmart has a built-in personal trainer which sets you a routine to follow. If you follow the routine for approximately 5 minutes per day, you will see measurable results after 12 weeks. The steps to follow are easy:
TURN IT ON
Turn your KegelSmart on by pressing the O button. The exercise routine will start automatically after 30 seconds.
Fully insert the device into your vagina, keeping the retraction cord outside the body for easier removal after your workout.
You will feel a series of 3 quick vibrations which will signal the start of the exercise routine. And now you just need to – start working out!
Another amazing product
is the Elvie. This works in a very similar way to the KegalSmart. It is app based so you can track and visualise your progress. There are various workouts you can work through, all of which last for roughly 5 minutes. When training daily you can expect to see progress in 4 weeks. It is one of the most expensive weak bladder products on the market, so if you are unsure which product to go with your budget may help you decide.
How to deal with bladder leakages
BP3 knickers are definitely a girl’s best friend! They are washable sports knickers designed specifically for when your pelvic floor lets you down. They have a 4-layer gusset to help against bladder leaks, sweating or lighter periods. They are also VPL free so an absolute must for any woman. I find that going through the menopause I sweat more than I used to, so these knickers have been a god send when doing my usual gym workouts.
I hope this helps you understand how to get back your pelvic floor muscles, which you can easily achieve in as little as 12 weeks, providing you stick to a plan!
Also, Menodelight have given 10% off all their weak bladder aids using code weak10. Shop here