Is This Normal? – Pelvic Floor
By Jillian Lopiano, MD, MPH, FACOG
Is it normal if my bladder leaks?!
About 1 in 4 women report leaking, whether that’s a few droplets or complete emptying of the bladder. Rather than label urinary incontinence “normal” or “abnormal,” let’s acknowledge this is a common experience and you’re not alone!
Urinary incontinence has different types with many different causes, but they all have one thing in common: they can disrupt your schedule, activity levels, relationships, and health. Here’s the good news: urinary incontinence is relatively easy to diagnose with many non-invasive treatment options, plus new products to manage leakage when it does happen. Urinary incontinence affects so many women of all ages, so let’s destigmatize the shame and own the solutions available by talking to your healthcare provider about how leakage is affecting your life.
What’s the point of Kegels?
First, let’s back up and cover the pelvic floor. The pelvic floor refers to the set of muscles that sit like a bowl between the hip bones and incorporate structures in the pelvis. These muscles work in a variety of motions, from continence to sex. Now back to Kegels. Kegels are exercises specifically designed to work the pelvic floor muscles, especially those surrounding the urethra, vagina, and rectum.
Here are the basics: first, squeeze the muscles you use to stop the flow of urine or to hold in a tampon. Hold this squeeze for 3-5 seconds, and then relax. Try repeating this set 10 times in a row, three times a day. As you build up pelvic floor strength, try working your way up to 3 sets of 10-second holds. Kegels can be part of treatment plans for sexual health, urinary incontinence, or pelvic floor relaxation disorders. Once you learn how, you can exercise these pelvic floor-friendly movements anywhere at any time! (Raise your hand if you’re doing one now!)
Is it normal to have pain during sex?
Sex in pop culture really leans on the ooh-la-las to cover up the ouch’s commonly experienced by women. The truth is, an estimated 43% of women report some type of sexual dysfunction, according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). One of these dysfunctions is tied to the pelvic floor and its muscles, where tightness and tension can cause pain during sex. Often this creates a cycle of fear and avoidance, which can intensify the pain.
We’re all about creating positive sexual experiences here at Betty’s, and that starts by normalizing the conversation around pelvic floors, so more women are educated in understanding and improving intercourse discomfort. If you’re experiencing more pain than pleasure, it’s time to hit up your provider to help. They can help evaluate any conditions and recommend exercises for strength and prevention so you can get back to enjoying sexual experiences!
To learn more about Betty’s Co. visit bettysco.com or call (210) 572-4931
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Betty’s Co. is the next generation of integrative healthcare – providing gynecology, mental health, and healthy living care for the period-havers up to pregnancy-planners. Women’s health is surrounded by stigmas and taboo topics, often preventing them from accessing the care they need. “Is This Normal” is an ongoing Q&A series we host to give our “Betties” the space to ask the awkward questions, develop body literacy and ultimately, normalize women’s health.