Incontinence – why you should exercise your pelvic floor
Do you find it difficult to make it to the toilet or hang on when you are exercising or you sneeze? Having incontinence problems is both annoying and common. RFSU midwife Åsa Enervik explains what causes the problems and what can be done about them.
Problems with urine leakage are common and affect every third woman at some point in her life. For example, incontinence problems can occur after pregnancy and childbirth.
“The pelvic floor muscles are stretched and it is very common to have some kind of problem,” says Åsa Enervik, midwife at the RFSU clinic.
The pelvic floor muscles are like a hammock that supports the internal organs Åsa Enervik, Midwife, RFSU
Problems with urine leakage can happen for varying reasons. Some women leak when they jump, sneeze or exercise. It is called exertion incontinence and often gets better with tightening training. You may also have problems with you suddenly need to pee and don’t have time to get to the toilet. It is called urge incontinence. You often have a combination of the different types, but it is mainly stress incontinence that gets better with tightening training.
“The pelvic floor muscles are like a hammock that supports the internal organs. The pelvic floor muscles are also used to tighten around the urethra, vagina and anus, and by keeping these muscles strong, it gets easier to hold in urine and wind, for example,” says Åsa Enervik.
Urine leakage after pregnancy and childbirth
After giving birth, it is common to have problems holding tight. The problems often go away, but you may need to be a little patient.
“It’s quite common to have problems a couple of months after giving birth. The body often recovers by itself, but you may need exercises to help. And if you don’t get better, you should seek treatment. By doing so, you can get help from someone who can check that you are exercising correctly.”
Incontinence as you get older
It’s not just pregnancy and childbirth that can cause you problems holding tight – age can make it harder too.
“Incontinence becomes more common as you get older as tissue becomes less elastic, especially if you do not exercise or have a weak pelvic floor for other reasons. Exercise is good regardless of age, but if the problems do not go away, you should seek medical advice. Not everything can be solved with tightening exercises,” says Åsa Enervik.
Training equipment and apps for pelvic floor exercises
Guide – how to exercise the pelvic floor
Read our guide on how to train the pelvic floor. Regular exercise helps you strengthen the pelvic floor and keep it tight, and can also lead to more pleasurable sex.
Read our 5-step guide here: how to exercise the pelvic floor.