The pelvic floor is a vital muscle that helps to control the bladder. The pelvic floor muscles are quite possibly our bodies biggest unsung hero. They play a crucial role in our day to day bodily function, from facilitating healthy toilet habits to supporting our posture and physical movements.
The pelvic floor is a key set of deep muscles situated in the pelvis. They run from the frontal pubic bone to the base of the spine. Shaped like a basin, the pelvic floor holds the pelvic organs (uterus, vagina, bowel and bladder) in place and supports the bladder to provide control when you urinate. They relax as the bladder contracts to let urine out and tighten in order to allow you to hold. In a nutshell, a strong pelvic floor means everything is kept firmly in place and you should have full control over when, where and how often you visit the loo.
Pelvic floor weakness
A weak pelvic floor is the primary cause of Urinary Incontinence. The pelvic floor muscles can lose their tone due to a number of different triggers, and which result in an inability to control urination. 1 in 3 women and 1 in 10 men experience Urinary Incontinence every single day, which makes it more common than hay fever.
What causes pelvic floor weakness?
The most common causes of pelvic floor weakness include:
- Pregnancy and Childbirth: changes in hormones and the weight of a growing baby can place a lot of additional pressure on the pelvic floor while pregnant. You may start to experience pelvic floor weakness as early as 12 weeks into the pregnancy. The trauma of childbirth whether by natural birth or caesarean section can weaken the pelvic floor muscles, leaving the neck of the bladder unsupported resulting in long term issues with urinary leaks. This is particularly true following births involving forceps delivery.
- Menopause: hormonal changes such as drops in oestrogen can result in the pelvic floor muscles losing their tone and strength resulting in a lack of bladder control
- High impact exercise: high-intensity exercise like running, gymnastics, horse riding and HIIT classes can lead to a weakening of the connective tissue that supports the bladder due to constant and repetitive pressure when undertaking such activities
- Prostate cancer surgery: During radical prostatectomy surgery, the prostate gland and some of the surrounding tissue is removed, causing bladder neck weakness resulting in less resistance to bladder pressure and control over the pelvic floor1
- Obesity: excessive weight in the abdominal region can lead to increased bladder pressure, resulting in pelvic floor weakness, and in turn, Urinary Incontinence
Symptoms of pelvic floor weakness
You may be experiencing pelvic floor weakness if:
- You accidentally leak urine (and quite often)
- You struggle to make it to the loo in time
- You've got pain in the pelvic area
- Reduced feeling or sensation during sex
- Accidentally passing wind
How to strengthen the pelvic floor
The great news is that pelvic floor muscles can be strengthened and restored. By strengthening the pelvic floor and focusing on muscle balance, you can tackle the root cause of the issue rather than just managing the symptoms.
Many women are advised to do pelvic floor exercises like 'Kegels' or may opt for more intrusive solutions like internal probes or surgery. Kegel exercises or manual pelvic floor exercises are reliant on 'doing the right' - which for many is the problem. It's difficult to pinpoint and activate the pelvic floor so these are often ineffective. Doctors recommend doing up to 300 Kegel contractions a day for 4-6 months2 in order to see results. That's a huge amount especially when there's a risk they're not being done correctly!
INNOVO offers a compelling treatment alternative.
Easy to use and comfortable to wear, INNOVO helps you safely and effortlessly strengthen and re-educate the entire network of pelvic floor muscles through gentle muscle stimulation.
Using INNOVO for just 30 minutes a day/five days a week over 12 weeks has been proven to treat bladder weakness - delivering results in as little as 4 weeks3.
INNOVO treats Stress, Urge and Mixed Incontinence in women and men of all ages, and is the only non-invasive pelvic floor exerciser that targets the root cause of the problem.
A clinical study found that:
- 80% of users saw a significant reduction in leaks after just 4 weeks4
- 87% of users were defined as either dry or almost dry after 12 weeks5
- 90% of users would recommend the therapy to others6
1 Colley, Wendy (2014), Nursing Times, Incontinence Following Prostate Cancer Surgery
2 Arnold H. Kegel "Sexual Functions of the Pubococcygeus Muscle "Western Journal of Surgery, Obstetrics & Gynecology, 60, pp. 521-524, 1952
3 Soeder S, et al, A randomised, controlled, double-blind, clinical study to compare two neuromuscular stimulator devices in female stress urinary incontinence: Effects on symptoms and quality of life. IUGA Conference 2018
4 R. Dmochowski – Novel external electrical muscle stimulation device for the treatment of female stress urinary incontinence: randomized controlled noninferiority trial versus intravaginal electrical stimulation. ICS Conference 2018
5 Observational study on the treatment of stress urinary incontinence with Innovotherapy, April 2014