If you see me in a bank queue, supermarket line or horse riding (????) and my eyebrows are raised, one eye is squinting like a pirate, my lips are pursed and my face appears to be spasming, that’s because I’m probably doing Kegels, or pelvic floor exercises.
After two natural labours, I thought I was doing ok in this department. I can laugh, or sneeze confidently (Most of the time. If I brace.) I can even run or jump rope without cause for concern. That said, when I recently attended a super-dooper, high-intensity cardio class at the gym, I was in all sorts of trouble and the further into the class we went the worse it got.
The main culprit was star jumps. High speed, flailing arms, puffed out, trying to clench my nethers for all my might and still…. the shame.
I. Peed. My. Pants.
We’re not talking about Niagara, more like a tap washer that needs changing, but anything more than nothing is too much wee in public, no?
Naturally, I told Mister H immediately, as all husband’s are dying to know secret lady wee-wee business, and he was very understanding of my plight. Not so much as a smirk. He sent me an article he’d seen recently, regarding Cross Fit and peeing your pants which said boldly -
Peeing during exercise is not normal.
I am no doctor, nor am I a physiotherapist that specialises in ladies pelvic floor parts, but I beg to differ.
I did some highly scientific research (talked to my friends) and it would seem that it may not be preferred, nor supposed to happen, but it’s pretty damned common. Everyone I asked had had some form of urinary mishap (read : wet knicks) at some time in their life. In fact, the design flaw of the pelvic floor is so tragic that it appears that regardless of whether you have a natural labour or not, it seems gravity can take it’s toll eventually and you may need a crotch sling by the time you have a pension card. I did write a letter of complaint to the manufacturers of the female anatomy, but I’m yet to have a response.
The article I read points out the symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction, in case peeing your pants isn’t obvious enough. Allow me to share.
Signs and symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction:
- accidentally leaking urine (or faeces) when you exercise, laugh, cough or sneeze
- needing to get to the toilet in a hurry or not making it there in time
- constantly needing to go to the toilet
- finding it difficult to empty your bladder or bowel
- accidentally losing control of your bladder or bowel
- accidentally passing wind
- a prolapse
- in women, this may be felt as a bulge in the vagina or a feeling of heaviness, discomfort, pulling, dragging or dropping
- in men, this may be felt as a bulge in the rectum or a feeling of needing to use their bowels but not actually needing to go
- pain in your pelvic area, or
- painful sex
If any of you, my darlings, leak faeces when you sneeze, I must recommend you go swiftly (maybe don’t run though, just brisk walk) to a physiotherapist that specializes in lady business, because you don’t win friends with leaky poo. As for accidentally farting, that’s not a biggie provided you have a small child or dog nearby to blame.
A weakened pelvic floor is totally normal after childbirth, and unlike other saggy, baggy, droopy body parts, you can in many cases actually retrain it back to it’s former glory. It’s not rocket science, and it’s not even difficult but it appears than the biggest hurdle preventing ladies from getting their fanny crunches on is simply -
I’m flat out remembering to brush my hair (I never, ever forget to eat. I totally don’t get those people), so remembering to clench and hold for ten seconds ten times, 100 times a day just seems to elude.
At least, it did, before THE INCIDENT.
I could quite happily never do another star jump in my entire life, but I don’t want to slowly, embarrassingly become totally incontinent. Screw that. Have you seen the size of some of those pads? You can’t fit those thingies in your Bonds hipster g-strings. No, siree, the only leaking I will abide is sweat, thank you very much for asking….oh, and a strong pelvic floor can also equal better orgasms.
Anyway, I can’t do them in public because I cannot keep a fricken’ poker face to save my life, but I’m trying to remember to do them in the car.
If you see me at the lights, and I look like I’m having some kind of conniption, don’t call the paramedics, I’m just doing Kegels.
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