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Stopping Leaking When You Cough or Sneeze

  • Date6th December 2021

Sprinters Of Pelvic Health Click On This Link!

Having already thought about the marathon runners of your pelvic floor, I now need to tell you about the sprinters in your pelvic floor! This is ANOTHER crucial way you need to train your pelvic floor to stop the shame and misery of leaking.

So common signs you need to work on the sprinter fibres of your pelvic floor are if you get leaking when you cough, sneeze, laugh, jump, squat, land from a height, trip over or perhaps even when moving from sitting to standing.

These muscle fibres are known as fast twitch muscle fibres. As their name implies, they’re really quick to act, they also produce strong forces but they can’t keep it up for long, much like a sprinter. Get it!

It’s super common to have episodes of leaking under these circumstances above and I hear it every single day in the treatment room. You commonly pass off this sort of leaking as normal after childbirth. But it isn’t! You shouldn’t be leaking after giving birth and this shouldn’t still be happening years after delivery. END of. Remember, “Once postnatal, ALWAYS postnatal.”

Stress incontinence is what occurs when there’s a sudden pressure put on your bladder or bowel, and the muscles of your pelvic floor are unable to stop the flow and you leak. This pressure can come from movement it can come from gravity and it can come from a cough, sneeze, or laugh. What you need is these muscle fibres of your pelvic floor to switch on strongly and quickly before the increased pressure in your tummy occurs. Commonly however women think about tightening their pelvic floor consciously before they sneeze or cough with greater or lesser success. It maybe you can hold off the pressure from one sneeze, but heaven forbid you have three or four in a row!

The way to train these sprinter muscle fibres of your pelvic floor is to do quick strong contractions. Hold each for 1 second before relaxing. The aim would be to do ten in a row or until your muscles get tired.

A word of warning from the treatment room… I want you to avoid your butt squeezing, pulling your thighs together, sucking your tummy, in shrugging your shoulders up, raising your eyebrows, curling your toes, clenching your jaw. I also want you to be aware of your breathing. You need to be able to work these muscle fibres without holding your breath. This is key for those who leak due to weakness in this type of muscle fibre.

Coordinating your breathing with your pelvic floor contraction is really important thing to learn to do if you want to avoid leaking. Its often why people find Pilates really challenging from a breathing perspective. Interesting right?!

Co-ordination with breathing important too. Particularly useful for those people with SUI and flatus incontinence. It is very importance that this fibre contract before you increase pressure in your abdomen.

So the first type of pelvic floor work out enables you to stay dry when sudden higher loads are placed on your bladder. This training is about building strength and is needed along with training for endurance.