Every few weeks I go and see Leah Dalby of Lune Valley Physiotherapy. I’ve been seeing Leah for about a year now and she keeps me in tip top shape for my photography. We always have fantastic conversations during our sessions. During these chats I found out that Leah has a lot to offer new and pregnant mums too. So after our last lovely massage, we sat in her garden and she told me all about how she can help with incontinence and pelvic floor exercises.
One in three women have stress incontinence all the time. This means that if you laugh or cough or sneeze, star jump or laugh hysterically you leak some urine. Recently Leah was chatting with a group of young Mums in their twenties with babies and toddlers; the majority of this group had stress incontinence. The women had had a mix of births, a couple had had caesarian sections, some normal vaginal births, some had been aided with forceps. But what ever the birth delivery style, most of the women were leaking urine everyday. Some were even having to change their clothes several times a day. Imagining how these women felt being so young and thinking they are going to have the problem for the rest of their life, Leah could have wept.
Physiotherapy can Help
Leah says physiotherapy is not a miracle cure, but it can make a massive difference. If someone has talked to you about doing pelvic floor exercises while you are pregnant, or before, or after, or even if you had your babies forty years ago it is never too late to start doing them. And it’s probably never too early either. leah thinks we should be teaching our daughters about the pelvic floor and why we should support it.
Pelvic Floor Exercises
The pelvic floor is the sling of muscles that is attached between the pubic bone at the front us and the tailbone at the back. It links the three openings; the urethra, the vagina and the anus. Leah says it’s a really fantastic structure. It is the bottom of the pelvic basket so along with the abdominal muscles that run along the front of the pelvis it is really important. We all want a great sex life and great bladder control and to aid this we should be doing our pelvic floor exercises every day.
Leah says there are some great apps available to help you with your pelvic floor exercises too. For most people, doing the exercise requires you to imagine that you are stopping the flow of urine and stopping your bowls opening, and then letting it go again. Relaxing the pelvic floor is as important as the tensing of it.She recommends that we do about fifty, so get in the habit of tightening and letting go when you are brushing your teeth, or doing the washing up. Build it into your routine.
And if the exercises alone don’t do the trick, seek out a women’s health physiotherapist. Your doctor can put you in touch with one through the NHS. Or there are some very talented private practitioners in our area (like Leah). She says don’t be embarrassed. This is your practitioners passion and interest so you won’t have anything to say that will be embarrassing them. And if you do introduce them to something they haven’t heard of before then that is great because it means they are learning too!
Leah is very skilled and she’ll quickly put you at ease. If you think physiotherapist may be able to help you, I can’t recommend her highly enough.