We often find that talking about problems “down there” is embarrassing or taboo. Examples of these health problems are the following:
- Urinary incontinence or poor bladder control
- Bowel incontinence and constipation
- Overactive bladder and urge incontinence
- Pregnancy and postnatal care
- Vaginal prolapse (also known as pelvic organ prolapse)
- Painful sex
- Pelvic pain.
There are certain health conditions that specifically affect women at different times in their lives and require the care of a certified medical practitioner.
A woman’s body undergoes great changes both during and after childbirth. In the antenatal period, it is very common to suffer back pain. After your baby is born, a professionally guided exercise program will help you re-gain your abdominal tone and protect your back from strain. You also need to understand how to re-educate your pelvic floor muscles to prevent any problems with bladder and bowel control.
Hysterectomy and Prolapse
It is vital to re-educate the muscles around the pelvis after surgery. Many women return to work without fully re-educating these muscle groups, and then go on to suffer with low back pain and bladder problems. Symptoms associated with prolapse of the bladder or bowel can be eased significantly by correct pelvic floor rehabilitation and lifestyle changes.
A weak bladder is something many women feel they have to live with and are too embarrassed to discuss with anyone. It’s very common and statistics show that 1 in 3 women are affected at some point in their lives. If you think about it, that means quite a few of your friends will be suffering in silence. The problem is bladder leakage won’t improve without action and can get worse as we get older.
Some women don’t seek help as they think that the only treatment is surgery. In fact, there are many treatments available depending on the type and severity of your bladder problem. The correct types of exercise and advice can either relieve or lessen incontinence. We know that pelvic floor exercises can help, but they are more effective if they are ‘tailor made’ for the individual. Just as an athlete would need different exercises to those of a weekend ‘fun runner,’ the same applies to pelvic floor muscles.
The bladder is basically a muscular sack which should only empty when it is completely full. There is a complex set of reflexes that control the bladder, and sometimes they become faulty and trigger the muscle to contract without warning. The sensation comes on as a strong urge which can result in accidents. Often, women feel they are desperate to pass water but would only pass small amounts.
Many women suffer varying levels of incontinence. Whatever the reason, you can begin to lose confidence in your bladder and fall into the habit of nipping to the toilet just in case. Over a period, the capacity of the bladder to hold fluid becomes reduced, which means you need to empty it more often. The whole situation then becomes a vicious circle.