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  • Janette O'toole

The pelvic floor....keep it safe!

Pelvic floor safe exercises are exercises designed to protect your pelvic floor. Certain exercises can overload the pelvic floor, weakening it over time and increasing the risk of developing pelvic floor problems, such as incontinence or prolapse.

The pelvic floor, is often only thought about during pregnancy and following childbirth. However, research has shown that people who engage in high impact exercises and sport are at risk of developing pelvic floor problems. In fact, the incidence of urinary incontinence is higher in active people compared to the normal population.

How can I protect my pelvic floor?

- Maintain good posture during exercise

- Breathe out with effort to avoid straining

- Avoid heavy lifting and strong abdominal exercises

- Try to tighten your pelvic floor during exercise and with physical exertion

- Be aware of your pelvic floor…can you feel any downward pressure on the pelvic floor during exercise?

Am I at risk?

Throughout our lifetime, there are several life changes, which put us more at risk. These include:

- Pregnancy and for at least than 6 months postnatally

- During breastfeeding

- Following continence or prolapse surgery or following a hysterectomy (in women)

- Following prostrate surgery (in men)

- Menopause and ageing

- Being overweight or under weight

- If you experience symptoms of prolapse (heaviness, pressure or bulging down below) or urinary leakage (such as leaking with coughing, sneezing or with exercise)

If you are having any concerns or are unsure if you are doing the exercises correctly, you should see a pelvic floor physiotherapist. This is a physiotherapist that has completed specialised training on the pelvic floor. They can assess your pelvic floor, and give you advice regarding strengthen and protect your pelvic floor.

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