Cough Cough! Achoo! Ooops! There goes another pair of underwear
Tis the season for sneezing, coughing, blowing our noses and LEAKING!? Let me tell you the number of women that have come up to me to let me know that during the cold season once they get hit with a cold all bets are off. Colds are rough when it comes to the pelvic floor and especially if you have already experienced leaking prior to a cold, the amount of coughing, sneezing and blowing our nose is sometimes unstoppable. Leaving you feeling embarrassed, self-conscious, and uncomfortable when those unexpected leaks happen. But fear not, there are steps that you can take to regain control and confidence. In this blog post we will go over how adjusting your posture and pressure can be a game-changer in preventing further damage and help you embrace winter with grace.
Before we go any further into how we can adapt our posture it’s so important to understand why post-partum moms often experience leaking. Due to pregnancy and childbirth our pelvic floor goes under a significant amount of stress, stretching and pressure. Which can lead to a weakened pelvic floor making it extremely challenging to control bladder function, especially during the cold season when an enormous amount of pressure is applied during a cough, sneeze or blowing your nose.
The cold season tends to make things worse due to so many different factors. Some of these things might be like curling up and slouching to put additional pressure or strain down on weakened pelvic floor muscles. Furthermore, when a cough, sneeze or need to blow our nose happens, it’s usually constant and many times in a row. Luckily, there are some slight tweaks that we can make during this time to create better awareness and better pressure management to help us through this unforgiving time.
Typically, our “go to” posture is to crunch down and bend over when we are about to do any of the above mentioned. However, what if I told you that this position is making our symptoms worse. It seems like a normal reaction, right? (I know for me this happened a lot during pregnancy) However, if you are experiencing leaking with any of these things there is a better way, we can coordinate pressure to make things “better” than before. But, by rounding over and scrunching down this actually puts a tremendous amount of pressure down on the pelvic floor creating that leaking effect to happen more! So here is the first thing we are going to fix!
Three things to look at in your posture when blowing your nose, coughing and sneezing
We want to make sure that we are getting the proper inhale down and exhale to relax. A lot of time there is a giant inhale prep before we go into a coughing or sneezing fit and even blowing our nose. Usually that breath tends to go right up into our chest. So here we want to think about a nice deep inhale down towards our pelvic floor and exhale without crunching our bodies down.
We are going to find a slight hinge position at our waist and keep our torso more upright to expel in an upward manner more than downward. (I know it sounds a little crazy) Even when you are laying down try a position like sticking your but out and lifting your chest up just a little in both directions can help. But the more we can even out our pressure in this position, the better we can get at not creating that downward force.
If you notice you are an “upper ab gripper” (meaning your top abs are always firm and your lower belly is something you’re always struggling with) I want you to try and give a slight lift upwards when you sneeze, cough or blow your nose. This lift will help round out the pressure that you are constantly pushing downwards. Allowing more pressure to go up, then down towards the pelvic floor.
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