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Don’t ignore your pelvic floor this winter 

Oh, the weather outside is frightful…

 

Yet, not as frightful as stress incontinence. Sorry, that’s not as catchy as the original tune — but the truth rarely is, ladies!

 

And the truth about this festive season is that with mulled wine and stuffing balls also comes coughs, sneezes, and wheezes, with winter colds putting added stress on the pelvic floor. 

 

So, it should come as no surprise that holiday strain makes this a peak time for incontinence too. However, Elvie’s research has found that 46% of women don’t exercise or take preventative measures to protect their pelvic floor. Naughty list, all of you. 

So, before we put on that sparkly jumper from nan and dance to Wham!, let’s take five for our pelvic floors with Elvie Trainer — the smartest way to build strength ‘down there.’  



Does this situation look familiar?


‘Twas the night before Christmas, 

And all through the house, 

Not a creature was stirring, 

Except for you. In bed. Because you needed to wee.

If it does, you’re not alone. Elvie’s research shows that 45% of women need to wee more often when it’s cold, yet 90% admitted to putting it off. 

 

Ultimately, women are risking bladder and pelvic floor issues in favour of staying tucked up in a warm bed (47%) or because they don’t want to give up their place in a queue when they’re out and about (37%).* 

 

And, I mean, we get it. Especially the cosy bed scenario. But, the pros have proven that it’s certainly not good care for ‘down there.’



Pelvic health physiotherapist, Claire Bourne, explains why holding it in is a bad habit

“When you’re cold,  blood vessels constrict to get more blood and warmth to our vital organs. This means that your blood pressure increases temporarily and to control our blood pressure the kidneys filter out any excess fluid, which results in us needing to pass urine more frequently.

We get the urge to do a wee when the bladder sends a message to the brain to say there is urine present. This initially occurs before our bladder is totally full so we have time to find a toilet.”


“If we repeatedly ignore the urge to go and spend long periods of time holding in urine this can lead to pelvic floor tension, which can lead to other symptoms. Having a strong and flexible pelvic floor will allow you to hold when you need to and prevent any leakages while you’re waiting to get to a loo.”


34% of women associate incontinence with older women, but it affects women of all ages and stages in life. 


Despite the prevalence of leaks and the shame associated with incontinence, two-fifths of women (43%) said they believe the shame surrounding the issue stops women from seeking help. In addition, 22% said they feel resigned to the idea that incontinence 'is just part of day-to-day life,' while almost a third (29%) said they have no faith that doctors can do anything to help.





34% of women associate incontinence with older women, but it affects women of all ages and stages in life. 


Despite the prevalence of leaks and the shame associated with incontinence, two-fifths of women (43%) said they believe the shame surrounding the issue stops women from seeking help. In addition, 22% said they feel resigned to the idea that incontinence 'is just part of day-to-day life,' while almost a third (29%) said they have no faith that doctors can do anything to help.


Claire Bourne says:

“Urinary leaks can have such a huge impact on a woman's daily life, her self-confidence, and her mental health. Sometimes, women feel if they ignore leaks, they will just go away, but sadly, this is often not the case. The message needs to be loud and clear. There is a solution.” 


Stress incontinence — it’s nothing to sneeze at

Coughs and sneezes strike more during the colder months, which leaves many susceptible to bladder leaks. More than half (54%) of British women leak when they cough and sneeze — otherwise known as stress urinary incontinence. 


But, the good news is that you can do something about it. Enter, Elvie Trainer.

 

Clare Bourne explains: 

“Leaking urine when you cough can be a sign that your pelvic floor can’t cope with the significant increase in inter-abdominal pressure that occurs during a cough or sneeze. Repeated coughing can cause the pelvic floor to tire and weaken these muscles over time, which can lead to increased symptoms of incontinence or prolapse.


“Using Elvie Trainer, you can strengthen your pelvic floor, see the progress you’re making and make sure you’re doing your Kegel exercises correctly. This will help make sure you’re in the best position when those coughs and colds hit, especially during the winter season.”


Clare’s top tips for tackling “that little bit of wee” of the winter season: 

  1. Strengthen your pelvic floor muscles: Having a strong and flexible pelvic floor will help you hold on when you need it most. 
  2. Make sure you’re doing your Kegels correctly: Correctly performing a basic lift of the pelvic floor is essential. The Elvie Trainer is a smart device that detects whether you’re doing Kegels correctly using biofeedback. That way, it can make sure you’re strengthening your pelvic floor through five-minute daily workouts while tracking progress.
  3. Take care of your bladder: Stay wrapped up nice and warm and reduce your intake of bladder irritants, such as caffeine and alcohol.
  4. Speak to a healthcare professional for additional support. 

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