Women’s problems and health ‘below the waist’ are often a taboo subject with many too embarrassed to seek help and advice, and others simply not knowing where they can find advice.

OBESITY

Obesity is a huge problem in modern society, but poses a unique issue to women’s health and that of their babies. For most adults a healthy body mass index (BMI) is between 18.5 and 24.9, with those with a BMI of 25+ being considered overweight. A BMI of 30-39.9 is usually considered as obese and those of 40+ severely obese.

There is a myth that a pregnant woman should ‘eat for two’ however it is not until the final trimester that additional calories are required and even then it should only be an increase of just 200-500 calories. Similarly, it is important that these calories are gained from nutrient-rich foods containing wholegrain starches, fibre and fruits and vegetables, while limiting high fats and sugary foods to special occasions.

Obesity during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage and premature birth as well as risks long term consequences for the child such as obesity, birth defects and diabetes.

A physiotherapist can help with advice on safe ways to maintain a healthy weight and body during pregnancy and advise on weight loss following pregnancy to help provide you and your babies with a healthy and happy future.

STRESS INCONTINENCE

Stress incontinence is the most common form of incontinence. It is caused by weakened pelvic floor muscles and means you leak urine when you increase pressure on the bladder such as when coughing and sneezing or during exercise. As it is caused by weakness, the main treatment for stress incontinence is to strengthening your pelvic floor muscles, with around 60% of cases being cured or dramatically improved by exercise alone. Those who are overweight should also try to lose weight alongside the exercises.

To engage your pelvic floor muscles you should imagine you are passing urine and trying to stop the stream. Once you are confident you are using the right muscles you should aim to hold for 5 seconds, relax and repeat 10 times these are called ‘slow kegals’. Then using the same principle, engage your pelvic floor muscles and hold for just 2 seconds, relaxing and repeating 10 times; these are called ‘fast kegals’. Aim to repeat the process of fast and slow kegals for 5 minutes or 10 sets and do this minimum of three times per day. As you become stronger you can increase the hold of the ‘fast kegals’ to 10 seconds.

A physiotherapist can help if you are struggling to perform the pelvic floor exercises.

WE CAN HELP

If you are suffering from any of the conditions mentioned above, please feel free to contact us to see how we can help.

Visit our Womens and Child Section for more information

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