How to prevent bladder leaks

The hardest thing about pelvic floor exercises – is remembering to do them! Try these tips for creating a lasting habit

I have an embarrassing problem. My bladder leaks when I run, sneeze, or even just walk too fast. And because I love food – I need to run to burn some of it off (ok so running is overselling it. I lightly jog.)

But also, I sneeze a LOT – if its not hayfever, then its cats, if it’s not cats then its dust – you get the picture right. And because I grew up in Melbourne, I have a tendency to walk fast. Got to keep up! But all this fast walking results in bladder leakage. And I haven’t even started on the days when I’m trying to be good with my water intake!!! 

It all started many years ago when I had my first son. He was 10lb and boy did he have man-boobs. My second son, two years later, was as 12lb. He came out looking like a toddler – which was not ok. My boys are the joy of my life, but my pelvic floor muscles have never been the same. I guess this is my biggest problem. I’m told that I should be able to fix my pelvic floor muscles. Mum sent me a brochure about a wave machine I can sit on. And my friend told me about electrodes that pulse when I put them up my girly parts. I tried very hard to get the mesh surgery. But after three operation postponements (due to hundreds of women having issues with faulty pelvic mesh implants in Australia resulting in multiple lawsuits), I decided that the universe was trying to tell me something, so I temporarily gave up on that.

Instead, I have decided to work on my pelvic floor muscles. See previous blog post for the: 4 steps for how to do your pelvic floor exercises correctly.

I understand how to do my pelvic floor exercises, but my problem is REMEMBERING to do them!

The trick I have discovered is two-fold. Planning and exercise.

Here are my 4 key tips to help make the habit stick

  1. Start small. Try with one set of pelvic floor exercises every day for one week and then aim to increase. It takes on average more than 2 months before a new habit becomes automatic. It’s good to build up to it and set yourself a goal to do them for a minimum of two months.
  2. Link the exercises to key trigger points in your day when you are more likely to create a joint habit. For some people, it works to link the exercise to brushing teeth every morning and night. For others it works to do the exercises on the daily work commute. Linking them to regular and familiar triggers is key. For me, I wake in the middle of the night. Regardless of the fact that the night waking is a bad habit, I find that because my mind is more relaxed and I’m not rushing, it’s when I remember my exercises the most.
  3. Consider your habits, lifestyle and routine and then mentally schedule in the times for when you will do your pelvic floor exercises. You need to make it work for you.
  4. Share with a friend that you are doing them. You can then do them together! Make it a fun activity that you both can remember and do together. Because when 1 in 3 women experience bladder leaks, you quickly discover that bladder leaks are more common than you think. So we all could benefit from a little pelvic floor exercise.

Excitingly, you are never too old to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. So start today!

Pelvic floor exercises don’t work for everybody. Should you need a little back up protection – try Vivo Bodywear! Hands down – the best bladder control underwear you will find!

4 steps for how to do your pelvic floor exercises correctly

Do you pee a little when you cough, sneeze or are active? Then pelvic floor exercises might help.

Step 1: With steady even breathing, start with conviction. Just a few ‘good’ exercises are better than many lackluster ones.

Step 2: Without tightening your bum cheeks, squeeze AND draw-in the muscles around your bottom hole and your girly-parts at the same time. Lift them UP inside. Try to hold them strong and tight for as long as you can, whilst building up to 10 seconds. Now, let them go and relax.

Hold tight for 10 seconds!” I hear you exclaim! Trust me I know. It’s hard.

Step 3: Repeat. Squeeze, lift, then let go and relax. Repeat. Squeeze, lift, then let go, relax. Repeat. Squeeze, lift, then let go!

It’s tricky to keep the breathing steady, but it’s important – so keep trying. It’s fair to say that I still haven’t mastered it. Hopefully you are better than me.

Step 4: Aim for 3 sets of 10 lift and squeeze exercises – three times a day. This can be while walking, standing, sitting, or lying down. Each set of 10 will take roughly 2min each. So all the time you need to invest in your body is 6min per day to start off. 

Tell me – how do you remind yourself to do your pelvic floor exercises?

Pelvic floor exercises: Start today! Squeeze and lift. Hold tight for 10 seconds. Relax and repeat 10 times
(3 times a day – any time, any place).

Should you need a little back up protection while strengthening your pelvic floor muscles, then try Vivo Bodywear! Hands down – the best bladder control underwear you will find!

Please note, pelvic floor exercises do not work for everybody. Consult your doctor or pelvic health physio if in doubt.