Pelvic floors and bladder myths

So you’ve done pelvic floor exercises for most of your life – as your doctor advised. And that means you too, guys. Or did you? Okay, so maybe many of us didn’t do them as often as we were urged. Which means we may have a slightly suspect bladder the older we get, i.e., when you need to go you need to go.

So is it too late?

“It’s never too late,” the Jean Hailes health website reports. “As long as a muscle can work, you can always improve how well it functions.”

Health professionals advocate pelvic floor exercises to prevent bladder and bowel leakage and pelvic organ prolapse.

They suggest you tie your pelvic floor exercise in with a daily task such as brushing your teeth, standing at the train station, sitting on the bus – and make it non-negotiable.

The added bonus – if you needed one – was that investing in your pelvic floor health can also improve your sex life and result in better orgasms.

With the pelvic floor query sorted, let’s test two other bladder assertions.

One of the most common myths, says Jean Hailes, is that it’s best to empty your bladder often – just in case – before settling in for a movie or a long car ride.

Not so, the site’s health professionals say. “Going ‘just in case’ may train the bladder to hold smaller amounts of urine. Then, when you really need to, it’s harder to hold on.

“Your bladder is a reservoir. Its job is to store urine until an appropriate time and place that suits you to empty it.”

So what about a bit of leakage when we’re particularly active? Is that normal as we age?

“Wrong. Unfortunately, this type of bladder leakage tends to worsen over time, so it’s best to change your exercise routine and seek help from a pelvic floor physiotherapist, with the aim of returning to these types of exercises later.

“If you have issues such as incontinence, or pelvic organ prolapse, you’ll need an intensive program of exercises that aims to get you back to your fitness activities.”

And finally, we’re all conscious of hygiene and infections down there, so is it best to hover, rather than sit, on public toilet seats?

“In truth,” says Jean Hailes, “your bladder actually empties itself much better when you are seated and relaxed on the toilet.

“If you need to, use a disposable toilet seat cover or pop down some loo paper, but don’t get into the habit of hovering over the toilet. Remember, you can’t catch an infection from a toilet seat.”

There you have it. Continue (or start) doing those pelvic floor exercises, sit when you go, and see a health professional if leaking is an issue.

Have you noticed a change in your bladder control as you’ve aged? Have you needed to head to your GP?

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Disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.

Written by Janelle Ward

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