I talk to women everywhere I go about pelvic health. It is a subject that seems to interest everyone, and I know that hundreds of thousands of women are affected by pelvic floor dysfunction. Indeed it is estimated that around 80% of women will suffer with this issue at some point in their life.
Sales figures for incontinence pads would seem to back that up: Cash sales for light – moderate incontinence products in the UK retail channel have grown from £1m to £25m in the 10 year period 1998-2008.
WHOA!! We spend £25 million a year on incontinence pads and products in the UK alone! This is a big deal ladies.
But still many women I speak to tell me they don’t have a problem. Dig a little deeper and it becomes clear that many of us aren’t even aware that what we are experiencing IS a problem.
Adverts for TENA Lady, and Cross Fit advocates insisting that the fact that they pee when they exercise is a measure of how hard they work out have helped to desensitise us to the fact that any leakage of urine, faeces and even wind isn’t normal and is a sign of loss of condition or functionality in the pelvic floor.
Some women tell me “I don’t have a problem with incontinence, although I do leak a little when I sneeze.” Or, “I don’t have a problem with incontinence, but I gave up running because I couldn’t make it through a 5k without wetting myself.” Huh? Surely that IS a problem with continence?
So what are the signs that we might need help with our pelvic floor? It may surprise you to know that it isn’t just limited to issues with controlling our urine flow; there are other symptoms we may have that could mean we’re suffering with problems “down there” ( a phrase I can’t stand BTW- can we all grow up now and call it what it is please, our vagina?).
- Inserting a tampon has become difficult; wearing one has become less comfortable; and keeping one inserted isn’t as easy as it used to be. And if it slips out when you are on the toilet, that’s a big wake up call.
- Sex hurts. There are several reasons why sex could become difficult or even painful, but many of those reasons are to do with poor pelvic health. Ask your doctor to refer you to a Women’s Health physio for diagnosis.
- You have something in or even poking out of your vagina or anus. I’m talking about body tissues here. If you start to find it difficult to urinate or defaecate or can feel something there when you put a finger or tampon inside, this could indicate a pelvic organ prolapse.
- You find yourself staying in more, or only going out to places where you know there will be decent toilet facilities – because you need to go so often.
- You stop exercising because you don’t want to embarrass yourself in your boot camp or body combat class.
- You have started to wear incontinence pads, or even light panty liners, just in case you have a “little accident”.
Women shouldn’t be experiencing any of the above if they have good pelvic health. If you recognise yourself in this list, or have ANY leakage at any time, I strongly advise you make an appointment to talk to your GP or find a Women’s Health physio for help.
Getting back to statistics, here’s another one for you:
75% of those cases of pelvic dysfunction could be resolved in three months with the right kind of exercise and nutrition.
The FooFoo FunClub is an invaluable resource for women dealing with pelvic floor dysfunction.
At the FooFoo FunClub we are passionate about pelvic floors, and we are passionate about supporting women. We run courses that teach women how to exercise, eat and adapt their lifestyle to improve and heal their pelvic floor.
We want to empower women to talk about their pelvic floors without shame. We want to help women get the information that they need to allow their body to heal itself. No woman should ever be too embarrassed to talk about a part of her body or to seek help for a problem, and we at the FooFoo FunClub are working hard to provide an environment where women are able to do just that.
Who will it help?
If you are a woman with any of the problems described above the FooFoo course could help. It is especially beneficial during and after pregnancy when the pressure on the pelvic floor has been increased and the muscles have been put under immense strain.
If you are perimenopausal, menopausal or postmenopausal, the course could be ideal for you. The drop in oestrogen at this time in a woman’s life can lead to a considerable loss of elasticity – following the exercise and nutrition plan can make a real and lasting difference to your quality of life.
If you are or have been overweight, done lots of heavy lifting (including young children), have asthma or hay fever which means you cough or sneeze a lot, or if you remember having problems as a young person you could benefit from the course. It is also ideal for you if you have weak abdominal muscles and need to strengthen your core.
Don’t suffer in silence, and don’t just hope the problem will go away on its own. Take control of your health and take action now.
The next course will be starting in January 2015 at Hazelwood Tennis and Squash Club in Winchmore Hill. Please contact Denise on 07811 954739 for more information about booking your place.