Ugh–It’s flu season. Actually, according to the CDC, flu season is officially from October to May! But the peak of the season is in December through February, which puts all of us square in the middle of it.
For a quick refresher, symptoms of the flu include fever, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue, and COUGH.
As a clinician focused on the pelvis, I ask people about coughing and chronic cough all the time. Why? Because what happens when you cough tells me a lot about your pelvic floor.
For most women without incontinence issues, when they cough once or twice, nothing happens. But if you cough over and over again for hours or days, you may notice that you start to leak a little urine. Sometimes, it’s tiny and you may find yourself wondering, “Did I sweat down there?”… and the answer is probably not.
What Should I do About Leaking Urine?
…is a question you might be asking yourself. Here’s a technique that I recommend to my clients:
Squeeze your pelvic floor muscles (draw your muscles up and in) like you’re trying not to pee. Some people call this contraction a kegel.
Timing is important when practicing this exercise. Squeeze your muscles before and during a cough or sneeze. This may take some practice, but you can even practice it with a fake cough.
More Suggestions to Help You Not Pee on Yourself
It’s okay to cross your legs if that helps. This squeezes your pelvic floor shut a bit more while you’re in a sitting position. It also means that you’re involving your inner thigh muscles which may give you a stronger pelvic floor contraction. You can usually find a way to do this casually, even while standing!
Here’s a question: Ever wonder why kids grab their crotch when they have to pee?
Grabbing that space between your legs puts compression directly on the urethra (or, the pee tube) and effectively holds it closed. As adults it’s a lot less socially acceptable in public, but it works! However, if you need to use this method, it’s time to work on strengthening your pelvic floor muscles properly.
Another Important Takeaway for Your Pelvic Floor
Don’t forget that relaxing those pelvic floor muscles is just as important as strengthening them. Read more about tight (hypertonic) pelvic floor muscles and the connection between incontinence and pain with sex on my other blog posts. And of course, please reach out to me with questions! Helping women is what really gets me excited to work with my clients, after all.
Lastly, here’s a quick P.S.A.: Hand washing is still the number one way to prevent spreading the flu! Tell your family and coworkers!
If you’re looking for more a more detailed description of kegel and the three different types, you can buy my book for women looking to boost their love life, schedule an appointment to see me in real life, or schedule email or video sessions and work with me online!