Is Pilates your answer to stress incontinence
Do you live in fear of a cough, a laugh, a sneeze, or even the once-simple act of doing a star jump?
Maybe you have stopped running around with the kids or grandkids for fear of what might happen?
If so, you are far from alone. It is estimated that 1 in 3 women will experience stress incontinence.
While this issue can be embarrassing and distressing, it doesn’t always have to be a life sentence. There are various ways to work on strengthening your bladder control, and Pilates is one of the best.
Today, drop the worry about this common condition and learn exactly why it happens and why Pilates might be the solution for you.
Why Does Stress Incontinence Occur?
When it comes to your ability to “hold it in,” it’s all about your pelvic floor muscles. This group of muscles attaches to the pelvis and sacrum, acting as a hammock-like support for your uterus, bladder, prostate, and rectum.
You would have a tough time seeing these muscles, but you can feel them in action when you clench to try and stop urination mid-flow.
If your pelvic floor muscles are weak, it can be hard to stop the flow of urine, resulting in incontinence.
Various things may contribute to stress incontinence, but some of the most common include pregnancy and childbirth, hysterectomy, a higher BMI, old-age, smoking, caffeine, diabetes, constipation, and UTIs. Also extended bouts of coughing, repetitive lifting of heavy weights and high impact exercise can negatively impact the pelvic floor muscles.
What Can I Do To Improve Stress Incontinence?
The great news is that stress incontinence does not have to part of everyday life. It is not a condition that you need to put up with, despite how common it is.
The most important way to address this problem is by working on your pelvic floor muscles, and Pilates is an excellent way to do this.
Reducing your BMI can help, as can addressing constipation, reducing your intake of caffeine and fizzy drinks, and making sure you pee regularly.
How Can Pilates Help?
While Pilates works on the entire body, the foundation of the practice is the core itself – your abdominal and pelvic floor muscles.
Traditionally, physiotherapy has been recommended to treat urinary incontinence, with exercises that involve the pelvic floor muscles. But research has shown that Pilates is just as effective –sometimes, even more so – than physiotherapy. Even one session a week can provide improvement.
The pelvic floor muscles are best strengthened in coordination with various other muscle groups in the abdomen, chest, and diaphragm. So, Pilates' focus on the centre and control is the ideal method of addressing issues with stress incontinence.
In a six-week study, women who attended Modified Pilates classes reported higher self-esteem, less social embarrassment, and noted that the impact of incontinence on their day to day activities was less.
Although many women experience stress incontinence, our bodies are different. So it’s helpful to cater the exercises and approach to every individual. That is what we aim to do here at Turning Tide Pilates.
Alongside the physiological benefits of Pilates are the social benefits. One study conducted by Patrick Culligan, MD in 2009 found that the effectiveness of Pilates over other pelvic floor training was likely due to the ability of instructors to provide ongoing guidance and monitoring on an individual level.
We have a number of clients that have also experienced an improvement in their stress incontinence after attending Pilates classes here at Turning Tide Pilates.
While it may provide some light relief to joke about stress incontinence among your friends, this condition is nothing to be laughed at. It can reduce your quality of life as well as cause depression and anxiety.
If this is a concern for you, Pilates is a fantastic way to work on improving this condition and getting your life back. And we would love to help you build core strength here at Turning Tide Pilates. We offer one to one or small group sessions at our tranquil Titirangi studio, or you can take one of our online classes also. Find out more here.