Christmas can be a tough time for your pelvic floor. Not only do we become too busy to remember to do our Kegels but all the festivities can have additional impact on pelvic floor weakness. Follow our Kegel8 best practice and look after your pelvic floor this Christmas…
During the winter months our intake of caffeine tends to increase; we drink tea and coffee to keep warm, to relax after a chaotic shopping trip, when we socialise with friends and family… All this additional caffeine is a real irritant for our bladder and can result in bladder weakness.
Why not try caffeine-free tea and coffee - most brands offer a caffeine-free alternative now and they really don't taste so different.
Or how about flavoured teas - they make a great change as a warm drink that is far more refreshing than tea or coffee.
Set yourself restrictions like only drinking tea or coffee when you are visiting friends or relatives and stick to a caffeine-free alternative when you're at home... or even better, water! Try boiled water with a slice of lemon for something warm with a little flavour.
Most of us enjoy a tipple, especially at Christmas but there's no denying it gets even the healthiest water-works dashing to the loo more than usual, not to mention if you already suffer with an overactive bladder or incontinence. Don't worry, we're not about to suggest we all go teetotal.
Try alternating your alcoholic drinks with water. This will help to dilute the alcohol in your bladder to reduce irritation… and of course another bonus is you are less likely to suffer a thick head the next day!
Although it seems a good idea to drink less water to stop yourself from needing the loo so often, it's not. Drinking less water can make your urine more concentrated, irritating your bladder and making the urge to 'go' greater.
Summer holidays and Christmas are definitely to two times of the year most of us are guaranteed to pile on a few extra pounds. Our first concern is usually unsightly lumps and bumps showing in our favourite party frock but what we should be worried about is our poor pelvic floor muscles having to support that extra weight.
Buffets are always tough to be good with what you eat but try setting yourself a limit - one trip to the buffet only and fill your plate with the healthy carrot sticks and dips very few people touch. If you don't trust your self-control, be one of the last to visit the buffet table - there's less likely to be tempting sausage rolls and sticky buns left.
With the cold dark nights it becomes tempting to snuggle up on the couch with some good comfort foods like chocolate and crisps… set up a 'visitors cupboard' in your kitchen full of goodies when you have guests and a 'snack cupboard' for yourself and fill it with fresh fruit, dried fruit, veg sticks and dips for those night-time munchies.
It's surprising how many miles we can cover on foot just by hitting the shops at Christmas for everyone's gift. Although tiring, it's all good exercise but watch your posture as you can have a negative impact on your pelvic floor - the key is to stand tall.
Focus on your 'push off' with each step; feel your toes work to push you forward. By paying attention to your toes and letting them drive you forward you will decrease the impact on your heels in every step, reducing abrupt impact on your pelvic floor. This will also encourage hip extension and you'll notice your chest naturally lifts making you walk taller for a healthier posture.
Coughs and Colds
As hard as we try it's nearly always impossible not to catch at least a sniffle at this time of year and sadly every cough and sneeze gives our pelvic floor a burst of pressure.
Squeeze when you sneeze… or cough for that matter! This will help to balance out the pressure on your pelvic floor muscles and protect them. And when you're done sneezing, why not carry on for another 10 or so 'squeeze and lifts' and feel pleased as punch that you've done an additional set of Kegel exercises for the day!
Find a good vitamin c and take the recommended dose religiously to help keep your immune healthy and avoid a cold altogether.
We know we don't need to go into the health risks associated with smoking but did you know that studies have also found that smokers are one and a half times more likely to develop an overactive bladder than non-smokers. This is possibly caused by the effects of nicotine on the detrusor muscle (which contracts when you urinate) and also by the chronic cough that often comes with smoking - and if you smoke but this doesn't apply to you right now, trust us, it will someday.
Why not set your New Year's Resolution now to quit - there are a million and one positives to stopping smoking for the good of your health and not to mention for the good of your bank balance!
If the chronic cough sounds familiar to you, remember to tense those pelvic floor muscles as you cough to help ease the pressure and protect your muscles.
So there you have it, our Kegel8 Christmas Tips on how best to care for your pelvic floor muscles.