There are certain health problems that specifically affect women at different times in their lives and require specialist physiotherapy.
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 that it means quite a few of your friends will be suffering in silence. The problem 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 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 cure or greatly improve 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 a weekend ‘fun runner’, the same applies to pelvic floor muscles. Follow the links to Bladder Problems for further information.
A woman’s body undergoes great changes both during and after childbirth. In the antenatal period it is very common to suffer with back pain. After your baby is born a graded Pilates based exercise programme will help you to 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 from developing.
Hysterectomy and Prolapse
It is vital to re-educate the muscles around the pelvis after surgery. Many women return to work and general exercise without fully re-educating these muscle groups and 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
- Exercises – Many women only need the correct type of pelvic floor exercise programme to see a dramatic improvement in their symptoms. Learning how to activate the deep lower abdominal muscles can help the pelvic floor muscles to work.
- Muscle Stimulation – In some cases the pelvic floor muscle are very weak and exercises alone will not be effective. These muscles can be reminded how to work again using a treatment called ‘neurotrophic stimulation’. This is a small battery operated unit about the size of a walkman. The pelvic floor muscle is stimulated using a small device very much like a tampon and is used on a daily basis at home. As the muscle remembers how to work again exercises are built into the treatment programme.
- Bladder training – Women with weak bladders fall into the habit of emptying their bladder too often. There are specific techniques you can be taught to train your bladder to hold more and need emptying less often.
- Biofeedback – These are techniques that can be used to remind us how to work specific muscle groups and are used for re educating muscles. It is also a way of assessing if there has been any improvement in strength and endurance of a muscle.
- Relaxation techniques – Anxiety and tension make bladder problems worse and if you have bladder weakness you are usually anxious about it. Specific relaxation techniques can really help to put to back in control
- General Advice – About fluid intake, bowel control, exercise levels and setting yourself goals