Pelvic Floor Dysfunction: The Boomers Bladder
The Boomers Bladder includes people with bladders who were born between 1946 and 1964. There wasn’t as much knowledge or help around that time for people who had bladder issues and so the Boomer may have a bladder problem. But, there IS help now, so the Boomers Bladder may return to its previously well functioning state!
What are these bladder issues that Boomers may experience?
Boomers may experience boomer bladder issues such as stress urinary incontinence (SUI) – the unintentional leaking of urine when sneezing, laughing, coughing, lifting or running. Anything that causes more pressure through the abdominal area than the pelvic floor muscles (PFM’s) can handle may result in some leaking. This is often due to weaker PFM’s that need to be strengthened. Overactive bladder (OAB) is another issue where someone will be using the bathroom much more frequently then before. If this is you, then you know where EVERY bathroom is in the city. Urge incontinence is when someone feels an incredible urge to use the bathroom even though the last trip was just 30 minutes ago. En route, there may be leaking because you just couldn’t hold it. When the pelvic floor weakens to the point where it can no longer support the pelvic organs well, a pelvic organ prolapse may occur. This may result in a cystocele (bladder prolapse), a urethrocele (uterine prolapse) or a rectocele (rectum pushing into posterior vaginal wall).
Why will Boomers be vulnerable to bladder issues?
The main stage in a woman’s life where she becomes more susceptible to having a boomer bladder issue:
Menopause is when the boomers bladder may have an issue. Once we enter peri menopause or menopause, tissue changes may occur such as vaginal atrophy, thinning vaginal tissues and decreased estrogen levels. This may result in vaginal dryness and/or leaking.
What can the Boomer with the Boomer Bladder do?
- Have an assessment from a pelvic health physiotherapist
- Begin your exercises – strengthening for the weaker pelvic floor muscles
- Release work for your tighter pelvic floor muscles with urge/OAB
Work on your strengthening exercises and commit to a 12 week exercise cycle building up to 2 sets of 10 reps holding for 10 seconds. Work your PFM’s:
- in isolation ( just your PFM’s without doing anything else )
- integrated into your other exercises (eg. as you exhale during biceps curl, pull up with your PFM’s)
- add into your activities of daily living (ADL’s)
Here are some ideas for the Boomer Bladder to easily add PFM exercises into your daily activities:
- Brushing Teeth
Engage your PFM’s and hold for 5 brush strokes, release for 5 brush strokes. Repeat 10x
Engage your PFM’s as you go up several steps in your home, release for several steps OR speed it up and hold/release every 1-2 steps. It is always a good idea to practice with slow, holding exercises as well as fast holds/releases
Engage and hold your PFM’s while pulling that weed out, release to pull the next one out, repeat 10x
Engage and hold while you vacuum a small section, release over the next small section
- Watching TV
Engage your PFM’s quickly over the 1st commercial (squeeze, release, squeeze, release) and do slow holds (3,5 or 10 seconds) over the 2nd commercial
There are many ways you can easily incorporate your Kegel’s into your everyday activities so try these and check out my instagram videos at http://www.cathywatsonphysio.ca and my youtube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJqDcZOOLoNKdBwxmY_wawA/videos?view_as=subscriber for even more ideas!