April 29, 2022

Pelvic floor problems: common, but rarely "normal".

"Urine loss? No way! Well, a little leakage, sometimes... but only when I'm really laughing, or I have to jump up and down a lot..."

"Does it bother you that I can't hold my breath? Isn't that normal? Only when I have bloated bowels do I seem to have less control..."

"Incontinence? No, not at all, but... I do wear panty liners every day, to feel more secure..."

"Jumping on the trampoline? No, I can't do it dry anymore, after I had children. But isn't that normal?"

Comments that to us indicate symptoms of involuntary urine loss (urinary incontinence) or incipient stool problems (stool loss, anal incontinence or flatus incontinence).
It is indeed true that these are common complaints. More than 60% of pregnant women experience bladder weakness, and as many as one in three continue to experience bladder weakness after giving birth. One in eight of your girlfriends (who have given birth) is likely to have less control over "the rear compartment".

Can we then also say that it is normal?

So should we all give a "thumbs up", a lot of "kudos" and "hands in the air" smiles in response to the advertising of a new sanitary pad brand? Commercial brands showing young, beautiful dynamic women dancing and enjoying their new (incontinence) pads. It can hold an entire glass of water! That's how much leakage you could absorb... And even then... you can be sure that you won't see any wet spots on your clothes on the dance floor!

On top of that, the bandages just get prettier, the incontinence briefs just get sexier (with that half-centimetre of lace coming) and they smell like delicious blossoms...

No (from the undertone of the previous paragraph, you may read our coloured opinion)

Pelvic floor problems are never really normal.

These complaints always indicate that there is something wrong somewhere in the good systems that used to help you hold up perfectly.

We have to admit that sometimes studies show that the pelvic floor has changed (due to pregnancy and childbirth or otherwise) and that this causes symptoms.

But for many of these women, we can do something about it together.

There are many possibilities. The range of options starts with simple tips and exercises, and ends with more complex forms of surgery. Some women, however, may be advised to seek other options, or to accept certain symptoms or changes...

In the first instance, the most sincere and scientifically sound advice is:
"Talk it over with a specialised (or trusted) healthcare provider (gynaecologist, general practitioner, physiotherapist, midwife, urologist, bowel specialist,...) and together consider a specific step-by-step plan tailored to your situation".

We cannot generalise about which examinations, which exercises, which tools and which advice will apply to you. But there is a lot of help available.

Many beautiful and good options, which you should not deny yourself, before you would really resign yourself to the fact that that thickly padded sanitary napkin between your legs really should become your new "normal"...

We have great respect for several very high-quality and respectful brands of "incontinence material". It's great that they exist, for women who really need it!

But admit it, no woman in the world will be shaking on a dance floor carefree, with such bandages filled with urine.

The complaints are common but should not be DENIED...

Take care of yourself!

Take care of your Pelvic Floor-health!

Hedwig Neels


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