Not one of my classiest moments. I wondered when the time would come. I had read about it, heard stories. My husband is a gynaecologist for Pete’s sake. Today I peed my pants. And not just an ‘Oh my god I have to go” but a downright “I can’t stop the rain”!
I am nearing my 63rd birthday and the thought of Depends looms near. Something happens when I return home. It’s like a Pavlov’s dog analogy. I pass the washroom and wow do I have to go.
The anatomy of the pelvic floor is quite fascinating. I had the opportunity to speak with Melissa Dessaulles. She is a registered physiotherapist with extensive post-graduate training in the management and treatment of pelvic floor dysfunction and lucky for us, she was able to break down the where and why’s of how we pee complete with stories and pictures. She was so kind and reassuring I felt like I was in Mr. Rogers Neighbourhood. ( If you have not seen this movie it is a must-see!)
You can reach her at: https://mommyberries.com/
The brain, pelvic floor and the bladder work together, all day without us thinking about it.
Like a reflex.
What happens during menopause?
TIME – Over the years we have held our pee, and exercised our brains, bladder, and pelvic floor like rock stars…and they may be getting tired.
DROP IN ESTROGEN - this leaves tissues thinner and more fragile.
ACTIVITY - types of activity may decrease as we age.
This creates the perfect storm for leakage.
What to do?
We need to understand the variation of engagement of the pelvic floor from 0 - 10 and practice range of motion exercises that help to relax and tighten… ok… how?
Relax and Tighten
What happens when we RELAX?
Tailbone floats back
Sit bones are down and out
What happens when we TIGHTEN?
Sit bones up and in
Anus closes and lifts in
Clitoris comes up and in
Tail bone tucks under
BREATHING - no kidding. This has a big connection to the pelvic floor. When we inhale the pelvic floor relaxes.
We all know what good posture looks like. However, don’t keep your body rigid and tucked in all the time…relax…
There are many things we can do to prevent peeing our pants…and wearing a diaper…
1. See a pelvic floor physiotherapist
2. Talk to your doctor about local estrogen cream
(to strengthen tissues)
3. Ask about gynaecological options
Thank you, Melissa, for your time and kindness.
Stay tuned, up next…the why, the when and the how of incontinence.