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My Worst Nightmare and How I Got Rid of It

Health guide to control constipation and pee leakage after 40

By Ainy AbrahamPublished 24 days ago 5 min read
Top Story - May 2024
My Worst Nightmare and How I Got Rid of It
Photo by Alexandru Zdrobău on Unsplash

When I crossed 40, I started feeling different changes in my body, and the most unwanted and painful was a decrease in bone density leading to a weakened neck, lower back, and pelvic floor.

Pelvic floor dysfunction started resulting in constipation which is the mother of many other diseases including piles (haemorrhoids).

In my thirties, I had heard that women experience many changes as they transition to their 40s, especially as they enter perimenopausal status (the time leading up to menopause). Still, that experience would change my routine and bound me to certain exercises that were not in my consideration.

Initially, my constipation was not a regular feature of my life, but as I crossed 45, it started haunting me. I came to know that it was not easy to cope with this. I learned a few techniques or you can say routine features/ exercises to relax from constipation.

I want to share basic information that every woman should know to understand how our pelvic floor supports our body and how we can maintain its strength to have a better health and daily routine.

Where exactly is my pelvic floor?

Pelvic floor is made up of a group of muscles that lie across the base of your pelvis, stretching from the tailbone to the pubic bone at the front, and between the bones that you sit on.

You can feel your pelvic floor muscles if you try to stop the flow of pee when you go to the toilet.

These muscles of the pelvic floor support and protect the pelvic organs i.e. bladder, bowel, and uterus, when you’re standing, walking, bending, or lifting.

Strong muscles prevent urine from leaking from your bladder. These muscles relax when you go for a pee or open your bowels, and they tighten again afterward. Strong, healthy pelvic floor muscles can also help enhance sensation and enjoyment during sex.

What is pelvic floor dysfunction?

Pelvic floor dysfunction involves the abnormal function of the pelvic floor musculature.

It is a common condition where you can’t correctly relax and coordinate the muscles in your pelvic floor to urinate (pee) or have a bowel movement (poop).

Common symptoms of a weakened pelvic floor or bladder dysfunction:

Leakage of urine when coughing, sneezing, bending, laughing, or lifting weights which is called stress incontinence.

It’s also common to leak when hurrying to the toilet, hearing running water, or even when putting a key in the door when arriving home, this is called urge incontinence.

Many women experience a dragging or aching sensation around the vagina or anus which can be due to a prolapse of the pelvic organs.

Problems in controlling wind or bowel contents which often associated with constipation due to difficulties in emptying your bowels causing a need to strain.

The importance of making pelvic floor health a priority

It is very important to understand that as women age, the pelvic floor is likely to become weaker, exacerbating any issues and hugely affecting one’s quality of life.

The good thing is that, if given the appropriate attention and care, these symptoms are often reversible.

How to protect your pelvic floor

As well as staying generally healthy with consistent exercise, a varied fibrous diet, and drinking lots of water, there are other important ways to look after our pelvic floor:

1. Posture

The posture of the body changes the way the pelvic floor muscles work.

If sitting slumped, it’s hard for the muscles to do anything to help. If sitting taller, supporting the head and neck up better, the abdominal muscles can work much more efficiently.

When standing, if posture is poor, the pelvic can end up tilting which will also impact how the pelvic floor muscles work. When standing with a better posture, the abdominals, bottom, pelvic floor and leg muscles are allowed to work together in synergy.

2. Recommended pelvic floor exercise routine:

Pelvic floor muscle exercises should include long, held squeezes as well as short, quick squeezes; ensuring that you let the muscle ‘go’ or ‘relax’ after each squeeze. Always breathe out as you lift the pelvic floor and breathe in as you relax. Start the lift from the anus, then the vagina, and finally a gentle drawing in of the lower part of your tummy to activate the deepest of the abdominal muscles

You should work the muscles until they tire and do the exercises regularly to help the muscles become stronger and more effective.

The NHS Squeezy app can be very helpful for visualization and motivation. And, you can do these exercises anywhere without any equipment at all.

Long squeezes

Tighten your pelvic floor muscles, hold them tight, then release and let them fully relax. Repeat the squeeze and hold until the pelvic floor muscles tire. Aim to be able to do 10 long squeezes, holding each squeeze for 10 seconds.

Short squeezes

Quickly tighten your pelvic floor muscles, then immediately let them go again. Always let the muscles fully relax after each squeeze.

You may need to start with little and often if you find that you can only hold the squeeze for a short time, or only do a few before the muscles tire. Aim for 10 short squeezes.

It’s great if you manage to do your pelvic floor muscle exercises at least 3 times each day, however, this might not always be possible. Little is better than nothing.

You may find it easier to do them when you are sitting or lying down. Build up your exercise routine gradually over the weeks and months. You should notice an improvement in 3–5 months and then keep practicing your pelvic floor muscle exercises once a day to maintain the improvement.

When to start working on your pelvic floor

If you’re not already, think about prioritizing your pelvic floor health now. Pelvic floor health is for life and it’s better to start late than never.

Just like any other muscle group in the body, the pelvic floor muscles can always be improved in strength and in their ability to relax. Your bladder and bowel are adaptable too and respond to various trainings.

Kegel changed my life

I am 48 now, and the Kegel helped me improve my pelvic floor condition, resulting in better bowel movement. My constipation is a rare phenomenon now.

With time I also have learned that I should not skip my time whatever the emergency is. If we forget our time, then it would harden the stool and result in constipation. Remember one thing — it varies from person to person and we should know our routine, so we set our activities accordingly and seek medical advice in time.

Health

About the Creator

Ainy Abraham

Listening to stories has always captivated me. Now, I want to share my thoughts through my stories.

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Comments (16)

  • Murali17 days ago

    Great article about pelvic floor dysfunction!

  • Fantastic writing.

  • And congrats for top story!!!! 🎉 🎉 🎉

  • This is very helpful, Ainy! Actually after giving birth the focus should be on restoring and restrengthening the pelvic floor muscles, with exercises like you mentioned, otherwise many complications can arise later in life.

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  • Congrats on your TS.

  • shanmuga priya22 days ago

    Congratulations 🎉.Ainy

  • Paula R22 days ago

    Thank you.

  • Wilson Guerrier22 days ago

    Great

  • Carol Townend22 days ago

    Great advice. I do mine standing against a wall, which can also aid in posture correction, and strengthen your back. Standing against the wall can help you to feel your pelvic floor tightening as you work out, enabling you to do them in the correct form.

  • Thank you , I am sure thi swill be helpful to many

  • Gerard DiLeo23 days ago

    Great article, but (to be constructive), it's a bit myopic in that it only centers on the puborectalis muscles, and there's much much more to the pelvic floor than that. Yes, Kegel's will help it and any stress incontinence, but spasm of the other portions can cause anything from abdominal wall pain to inflammatory abdominal organ pain. (I was formerly Chief of Pelvic Pain division of a university OBGYN department.) Most doctors, even gynecologists, don't know how to appropriately evaluate pelvic floor dysfunction. Pelvic floor physical therapists, do!

  • Aiman Javed23 days ago

    That's interesting and informative as well. Thanks ainy 👌

  • Ameer Bibi24 days ago

    Please add some pictorial illustrations for correct posture, it will further help the reader.

  • Ameer Bibi24 days ago

    Thank you so much for sharing this story. Being a woman I can resonate it with many parts but as you said each person is different so me too. But main thing you highlighted which should given highlight is posture.

  • Andrea Corwin 24 days ago

    Wow, good for you for researching, doing and sharing!! ❤️

Ainy AbrahamWritten by Ainy Abraham

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