Dr Nina Byrnes: 6 Things You Probably Need To Know About Pelvic Floor Weakness
Pelvic floor weakness, the not-so-pleasant side-effect of childbirth, is probably one of Irish women’s best-kept secrets.
We caught up with Dr Nina Byrnes, the spokesperson for Innovo, a new pelvic floor weakness device, the first treatment of its kind to be launched in Ireland, and this is what she had to say:
"The symptoms of pelvic floor weakness are widespread and are unbearable for so many. Its effects make many women hesitant to do simple, everyday things like go for a walk or even enjoy a good laugh because of it, yet it’s rare that they seek help or treatment for the problem. Culturally, we don’t speak about sensitive topics and pelvic floor weakness for women is one of the most sensitive topics there is, especially following pregnancy and childbirth.
It’s so important we break the barrier of silence surrounding this issue and encourage women to talk to each other and if necessary, seek medical advice. It is only by doing so that we can really start to tackle its combined physical and emotional impacts.
This is what women should know about your pelvic floor health:
1. You’re not alone
One in three women across the country suffer symptoms of pelvic floor weakness, and 82 per cent of women consider their symptoms to be severe. The first step to treatment is talking about your problem with someone you trust.
2. More than half of us don’t seek help
Bladder weakness is more common than hay fever! It may be an embarrassing topic, but we would all be surprised by how many of us are going through the same thing.
3. If you have delivered a baby, chances are you have a weakened pelvic floor
Although not the only cause, pregnancy and childbirth can have a serious effect on your pelvic floor, weakening it to the point of causing leaks and incontinence. There are exercises to strengthen it or to help maintain its strength that you can do during and after your pregnancy. Ask your GP, OB, physio and even your family and friends for help and support in figuring out what best suits you.
4. Having a weak pelvic floor doesn’t mean you’re unfit or unhealthy
While it’s true that pregnancy and childbirth can seriously impact your pelvic floor, it can also be caused by menopause and by exercising or over-exercising (as women build their core strength they often forget that the pelvic floor is an important component of this). Pelvic floor weakness can have an impact on women at any stage of life.
5. The emotional impacts are as bad as the physical symptoms
Incontinence is embarrassing, and it can have a huge impact on our daily lives, from having to use pads to having to know where the closest bathroom is at all times.
They say a problem shared is a problem halved but unfortunately so many of us are suffering in silence, and it means a lot of women are feeling very isolated. This can be even more stressful for women trying to juggle all the dos and don'ts of being a new mum.
6. There are treatments that work!
Yes, pelvic floor weakness and incontinence are serious problems but are most certainly treatable. While more severe cases can require surgery, there are treatments out there, like physio and exercises and now there is a new non-invasive treatment, Innovotherapy from restorethefloor.com treats the primary cause of urinary leaks rather than just masking the symptoms through targeted pelvic floor strengthening."