How many times have you heard women joke about not being able to go on a trampoline? What about the term "oops moment"...? It sounds so dainty and trivial right? Those smiling women in the Tena Lady adverts, merrily normalising leaking urine throughout the day without a care in the world?
YES, pelvic floor dysfunction is common, but it is NOT normal. We are doing women a disservice by claiming that it is, and that it is something we should just accept as part of having children / getting older / just being a woman.
So, the stats. 1 in 3 women experience leaking and 1 in 2 women experience prolapse after giving birth. Research released by RCOG (Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists) in 2023 (see link at the bottom of this post) reported that whether or not we have had children, over 60% of women are living with at least 1 symptom of poor pelvic health. And 53% of women surveyed had never spoken to a health care professional about it. Is that because of a fear of dismissal? Embarrassment? Avoidance because people think there's nothing that can be done about it? Or, have we normalised it to the point where we believe it is just part and parcel of being a woman? According to the RCOG, 21% were too embarrassed to ask, and 39% hadn't sought help because they thought it was normal. Pelvic floor dysfunction can be so life changing and dehabilitating, I feel passionately about raising the profile of this issue and supporting women to advocate for themselves so they can live full active lives without worrying about their pelvic floor.
We all deserve to have bodies that work to the best of their ability. Having a healthy functioning pelvic floor means we can lift our kids, go for a run, have enjoyable sex, walk the dog without pain and discomfort (not necessarily in that order!). It means we don't have to plan our day around where the next toilet is, or get dressed worrying about accidents, or a pad being noticeable.
I did my training to become a Hypopressives coach ,because in the 10 years I have been a midwife, I have met hundreds of women struggling with pelvic floor symptoms. So many of them either just putting up with their symptoms or trying to seek help and being dismissed. Or, having been told it's "to be expected" after having children. Women deserve better!
I love Hypopressives because it is EMPOWERING to learn a technique yourself that is so effective. With a 15 minute daily practice, you can take control of your pelvic floor symptoms rather than them being in control of you. The technique also teaches you about how your body works; how your breath and your pelvic floor is connected, how to hold your body correctly and realign your posture. Having an understanding of our body and how it works can only be positive; helping us to stay well and notice when something isn't right so we can do something about it.
Always happy to talk if you have been suffering in silence with pelvic floor symptoms and are not sure of steps to take.