It’s pretty embarrassing and annoying to pee your pants, as an adult.
Even if it is just a few drops, it stops so many moms from doing fun things. I’m sorry if you are dealing with this. It sucks! BUT, there are some things you can focus on that WILL make a difference.
If you struggle with incontinence, keep reading.
What’s going on with your pelvic floor?
Did you know that your pelvic floor like any other muscle can be tight and weak at the same time? Did you know that if that’s the case kegels will make it worse? A pelvic floor can also be weak and kind of out to lunch, unresponsive and lax. It is also possible for a pelvic floor to be tight in one area and lax in another area. Both tight or lax pelvic floors can lead to incontinence.
Time to figure out what is going on down there! Here is a quick self assessment you can use to assess what kind of state your pelvic floor is in right now, no opt in required. Like all muscles in your body, the pelvic floor changes how it works in response to how you are using it. So, if you do the assessment and realize your pelvic floor is quite tense don’t think that is how your pelvic floor always will be. Once you get a sense of what is happening you can do the right work for your pelvic floor right now , and it will change in response to what you do.
Aim for suppleness in the pelvic floor and hips
Held tension in the pelvic floor, back, and belly are all going to cause problems.
Many people respond to incontinence (surprise pee or gas) by gripping hard with their pelvic floor and abdomen all the time. This will not help you. It will only make things worse. Honestly. Suppleness is gold.
You need to get your pelvic floor moving with your breath, not only will that encourage better, blood, lymph, and nerve function, it will make your pelvic floor more able to respond to any impact or sudden pressure changes in your body (like when you sneeze).
When you inhale your belly, sides, back, pelvic floor and all around your ribs will ideally expand gently and as you exhale it will all slightly contract. If you notice you do something differently, like your belly sucks in and your ribcage lifts up at the front see if you can soften your breath and relax back into expanding evenly all around your torso as you inhale.
As for the hips, there are many muscles here that impact how well the body functions and especially how well the pelvic floor functions. If you get strong and mobile in your hips all through their range(forwards, backwards sideways, in rotation and everywhere in between) I bet you that your pelvic floor will start to function much more effectively.
One easy and fun way to gain some more strength in your side hip muscles is to balance more often. Either on a line on the floor, a 2x4 or the edge of the playground surround.
Posture has a pretty big impact on the pelvic floor, so it’s worth looking at. For the deep core system of the body to work well, the diaphragm (runs across the bottom of the ribcage) and the pelvic floor (runs across the bottom of the pelvis) need to talk to each other. To do that they need to point to each other. I’m not saying hold yourself ridgid so that everything is always lined up (suppleness is key, remember), but if you can realign yourself to spend more time with the diaphragm and pelvic floor pointing at each other you will have way better pelvic floor function. Pregnancy can impact how we hold our bodies and often those holding patterns stick around long after childbirth. Simple cue, ribs point down into pelvis or equal tension all the way around your torso.
The other posture piece is creating length through the spine, all the way into the neck. If you walk around with your head forward, some attention here can make a big difference. It also is really great for creating more space for the discs in your spine. An easy way to play with this to balance something on your head and walk around without dropping it.
Train for impact
If you never jump and then you do, you are going to be in trouble and will pee your pants. Any muscle that isn’t regularly asked to do a certain kind of task will not perform well doing that task. So if you want to be able to jump, run and sneeze you need to train for it.
A side note about sneezing, sneezes create a lot of pressure in order to clear the airways, if you are leaking pee at inopportune times please don’t suppress or stifle your sneezes! When you hold a sneeze in, you direct all that pressure down towards your pelvic floor. And the crazy thing is you end up sneezing again and again because your airways still need to be cleared. That is a recipe for pelvic floor distress.
Training your pelvic floor for impact isn’t rocket science but it is really important to start this super small. You want to get the pelvic floor comfortable with some bounce, but not overload it. Often the best way to start is standing and bend your knees and straighten them quickly to give a little bounce to your pelvic floor, you are not lifting off the floor, just dropping and lifting your pelvis. It may feel scary, if it does, do it more gently and just a few times at a time, multiple times a day. As that level gets easier and feels like your pelvic floor can handle it, increase the bounce intensity slightly and repeat. Gradually, over many weeks, work your way up to very small jumps and then bigger jumps. If you do this gradually, you will start to notice a big difference, unless your breath and posture is way out of whack.
And there you are, four things you can work with to stop those surprise pees in their tracks: Awareness of your pelvic floor and how to work with it, suppleness in the pelvic floor and abdomen, posture, and gently training for impact. I hope this helped you! If it did tell me how and anything else you would like me to write about in the comments below.
If you want my private help and support with this drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be happy to talk to you about how I work with people online and in person. Here is to building support and strength in your body and strong moms everywhere!