Woman’s health physiotherapist shares pelvic floor exercises to stop embarrassing leaks – including ‘clenching’ in time to Take That’s ‘The Flood’, pretending you’re holding in wind and doing the ‘happy baby’ pose
- Self-styled ‘f**** physio’ Elaine Miller won comedy award for her stand-up routine, gusset grippers, which discusses pelvic floor problems
- Around 1 in 3 women are affected by a weak pelvic floor, often caused by child birth which causes stress incontinence
- Miller’s #drybyChristmas campaign aims to help women strengthen muscles
- Tricks include yoga poses, lunges and ‘clenching’ to Take That’s The Flood
A pelvic floor physiotherapist turned comedian has launched a #drybeforechristmas campaign to help women suffering from stress incontinence to stop embarrassing leaks – and even improve their orgasms.
Elaine Miller, who turned her day job into the award-winning comedy show Gusset Grippers, says that while official statistics suggest one in three women suffer from a weak pelvic floor, the true figure is likely to be higher.
The average length of time before women seek professional help is thought to be around seven years.
A pelvic floor physiotherapist turned comedian has launched a #drybeforechristmas campaign to help women suffering from stress incontinence to stop embarrassing leaks – and even improve their orgasms. Stock images
However, the self-styled ‘f**** physio’ says the good news is that, for most women who have stress incontinence, it’s possible to fix it in just 12 weeks without even seeing a GP.
Appearing on Steph’s Packed Lunch on Monday, Miller explained the impact stress incontinence can have, saying: ‘If a women isn’t confident she can control her bladder, it interferes with every single thing she wants to do.
‘Although the stats are saying it’s one in three women, it’s probably more common than that.’
She explained that the pelvic floor is ‘a hammock of muscles under your pelvis and their job is to stop your stomach from falling out.’ Put simply, the muscles support the organs above it.
Miller also shared some of the techniques used to help women – including ‘clench-a-long’, which involves clenching muscles in time to pop songs including Take That’s The Flood.
While it is often thought of as a condition that affects only the elderly, up to 30 per cent of young women and 40 per cent of middle-aged women also have urinary incontinence problems.
Childbirth, the menopause and obesity increase the risk. Giving birth can directly damage the pelvic floor muscles, while falling levels of the hormone oestrogen during the menopause causes them to weaken, and extra weight puts strain on the bladder.
Last year research in the journal PLoS One found women aged 60 and over who sit for too long may be at a heightened risk.
Miller, pictured on Steph’s Packed Lunch this week, said just six sessions of physiotherapy had an 83 per cent cure rate for stress incontinence
Lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, can help by reducing pressure on the bladder, but pelvic floor exercises are the standard treatment.
Miller said: ‘Pelvic floor exercises are really important. The evidence is that if a woman has stress incontinence and she does pelvic floor exercises three times a day for three months, up to three quarters of women will get dry just by themselves.’
She added that just six sessions of physiotherapy had an 83 per cent cure rate, saying: ‘women don’t need to put up with it.’
Miller says she uses comedy to get people talking about an issue considered embarrassing by many.
She wrote Gusset Grippers based on the evidence-based information she would give in a physiotherapy clinic but ‘dressed it up as comedy’. In 2020, it was named the Fringe World Winner at Edinburgh’s famous comedy festival.
ELAINE MILLER’S TECHNIQUES TO BEAT STRESS INCONTINENCE
TEN QUICK FLICKS: PRETEND YOU’RE HOLDING IN WIND AND THEN RELEASE
Miller says imagining you’re holding in wind and timing it with your breathing can help improve muscle strength. So squeeze in as if you’re trying not to release wind, and then relax. Do this ten times – ten quick flicks – three times a day for effective results.
SQUEEZE, LIFT AND HOLD IN FOR TEN
The other main exercise is holding for ten. Take one deep breath in… and a sigh out before squeezing and lifting – and then hold for ten seconds while breathing at the same time. If you can’t hold for ten at first, just hold for as long as you can.
SING SONGS TO REMIND YOU TO DO EXERCISES
The women’s health physio says she has several songs to help remind women to keep up the exercises regularly including ‘Ten, ten, three, we won’t wee with a ten, ten, three’ referencing the two exercises above.
Other useful phrases to remember even if muscles improve include ‘three a day til you are dry, then once a day til you die.’
WEAR PLATFORM SHOES – AND ACHIEVE MORE INTENSE ORGASMS
Miller said recent evidence suggested that platform shoes can help with your pelvic floor because the muscles in your foot are supplied by the same nerve that supplies the muscles in your pelvic floor.
There’s also a possible upside to sexual enhancement too. Scientists say a stronger pelvic floor can boost blood flow during sex and increase the chances of reaching a more intense climax. The effects can be felt within just a couple of weeks of doing the exercises.
CLENCH-A-LONG TO YOUR FAVOURITE SONGS
Clenching to the beat of your favourite songs can help strengthen the pelvic floor muscle. Miller recommends, rather aptly, Take That’s The Flood as a good place to start. With Emili Sandé’s Lifted also hoping to encourage people to remember to ‘squeeze and lift’.
Shakira’s Whenever, Wherever is also great for reiterating that you can improve the pelvic floor at any time, she adds.
LUNGES, YOGA AND BALL EXERCISES
A standard lunge you might do at the gym doubles up as a pelvic floor enhancer. ‘Take a deep breath in, sigh out, squeeze and lift underneath, then lunge’, says Miller.
And in a yoga class, adapting the happy baby yoga resting pose – where the hands and knees are on the floor with the hips pulled back – is also effective in strengthening the core.
If you have access to a large inflatable gym or birthing ball, then simply rocking from side to side and forwards and back has a similar effect on helping to boost flagging muscles.
For more information on Elaine Miller’s show, visit gussetgrippers.co.uk
Why wearing two-inch heels can give lady’s love life a lift: Small platforms help tone key muscles… but stilettos fail to have same effect, study shows
By Pat Hagan
Wearing shoes with heels at this height could be the secret to boosting a woman’s love life, a study shows – as such footwear stimulates muscles that help a woman to orgasm.
Donning a pair of killer heels, or opting for more sensible flat shoes, however, does not have the same benefit.
Scientists came up with the findings after analysing different shoe heights to see which had the most impact on women’s pelvic floor muscles.
These are a group of muscles that control sexual function as well as the bladder.
A stronger pelvic floor can boost blood flow during sex and increase the chances of reaching the heights of ecstasy.
Wearing shoes with heels at this height could be the secret to boosting a woman’s love life, a study shows – as such footwear stimulates muscles that help a woman to orgasm
Researchers, from Shanghai’s Fudan University, quizzed 1,263 women on what kind of shoes they wore – from heels of under one inch to more than three inches.
They discovered that two-inch heels work best because, when a woman is standing in them, they tilt her pelvis just enough to make its muscles repeatedly contract – keeping them in good shape.
The biggest effect was seen in those who wore them for at least eight hours a day.
However, shoes with no heels or very high heels did not stimulate these muscles in the same way, the study found.
The NHS website already recommends daily pelvic floor exercises for women who struggle to orgasm during sex – believed to affect around one in five women in the UK.
And the benefits don’t only end there as two-inch heels were also found to reduce the risk of urinary issues and embarrassing bladder leaks.
In a report on the results, published in the journal Translational Andrology and Urology, researchers said: ‘Problems with pelvic floor muscles can lead to sexual dysfunction, as well as incontinence and pain.
‘But our results showed two-inch heels might help women to train these muscles.’
Many young women prefer wearing heels to make them look ‘taller and more fashionable’.
However, researchers warned that wearers should still always take care, as heels can result in falls and various musculoskeletal disorders.
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