Today, we are talking to experienced Women’s Health Physiotherapist Melanie Platt from the Perfect Pelvic Floor. Melanie is providing online pelvic floor exercise programs, that are convenient and cost-effective way to get help for your pelvic floor exercises at home.
Can you tell us what made you become a Women’s Health Physiotherapist?
I’ve been a physiotherapist for 10 years, and after a couple of years I was seeing a lot of women who were pregnant or had just had babies and they didn’t know what they could do for themselves. I didn’t feel like there was enough information out there for them, especially when it comes to pregnancy and exercise. So I started my research and courses and have never looked back.
Why is it important for women to exercise their pelvic floor muscles?
It’s a major part of being a woman, and when those muscles are compromised it can be debilitating and embarrassing, and it’s often not until this happens that a woman realises how important they are. There are so many advantages to having strong pelvic floor muscles, which allow women to feel confident, be able to exercise and live a normal life.
How soon after delivery can a new mum start exercising?
Pelvic floor exercises can be done within 24 hours after delivery regardless of caesarean or vaginal delivery. The important thing to remember initially is to go slow, gentle contractions and if you feel pain stop and try again the following day. Often you can’t feel much happening initially but keep trying and they will start working again. The stronger you are before labour the easier it is to get the muscles working after and the faster you can recover. I will always recommend making sure the pelvic floor muscles are strong and working well before attempting any other exercise. Most women can start light walking by 4 weeks postpartum. Weights, high intensity and running I don’t advise before 12 weeks postpartum and again the pelvic floor muscles need to be working well prior to this. Everybody is different and it depends on what the woman was doing for exercise prior to and during pregnancy. Women know their bodies, they just need to learn to listen to them.
What are the most common problems women have when they seek help from you?
Most commonly leakage with jumping, coughing, sneezing and even laughing. I also see women during pregnancy and post-natal for lower back pain and upper back pain.
How long does it take to see results with pelvic floor exercises?
If the exercises are done every day and correctly, you will feel a difference within 2 weeks, but for the muscles to become automatic and able to work while you are doing something else, I would say 3 months. Like all muscles they weaken with age and are not as elastic, therefore I see pelvic floor exercises as something women should do for their entire life. Moving through the stages of prevention during pregnancy, recovery after children and maintenance thereafter.
What kind of long term effects can women have if not strengthening their pelvic floor muscles?
Leakage of urine, flatulence and in some severe cases the bowels. Prolapse, which is where some of the organs encroach on the vaginal canal. The Pelvic Floor muscles also play a part in the core muscles in preventing lower back pain.
Any last bits of advice you would like to pass along?
Incontinence affects many people and you don’t have to have children to be affected. It’s common but not normal. Some people never really learn how to use these muscles correctly, and we can all have differences in our collagen strength which gives us some of the resting tone of the muscles. Therefore, pelvic floor exercises are for everyone! It’s never too early or late to start.
For more information on Perfect Pelvic Floor online exercise programs, go to http://www.perfectpelvicfloor.com