With bladder and bowel issues (incontinence) affecting one in three Australian women who have ever had a baby, health experts at the Jean Hailes Foundation for Women’s Health have developed an innovative podcast as a practical, discreet and portable tool to help women remember to exercise their pelvic floor muscles every day.
And it’s not just older people who are affected, says Jean Hailes Foundation for Women’s Health gynaecologist Dr Elizabeth Farrell.
“Many woman who have gone through pregnancy and childbirth, or menopause, will know that the effects on self esteem, body image, sexuality and overall quality of life can be distressing,” she says.
The good news is that it’s never too late to prevent or lessen the effects of incontinence by adopting healthy lifestyle habits incorporating good nutrition that includes fruit, vegetables, fibre and water, with regular physical activity – and of course those pelvic floor exercises.
There are many benefits to strengthening your pelvic floor muscles, according to Dr Farrell. “A strong pelvic floor can help improve bladder and bowel control, prevent internal organs from sagging, assist recovery from surgery and childbirth, increase sexual sensation and improve overall social confidence and quality of life. Pelvic floor exercises need to become as regular and second nature as brushing your teeth.”
“This is one of those things that we know we should be doing, but often struggle to do long-term. Hopefully this podcast will help women make pelvic floor exercise a daily habit,” says Dr Farrell.
The pelvic floor podcast can be listened to over the internet or downloaded to an Ipod or mp3 player.
“You can even put the podcast on your mp3 every 10 songs or so, as a discreet and convenient reminder – you’ll be strengthening your pelvic floor and nobody will know you’re even doing them,” says Dr Farrell.
Remember, it’s never too late. Don’t just put up with incontinence – do something about it! Download the podcast at www.jeanhailes.org.au