Pee a Little When You Laugh? 4 Signs Your Pelvic Floor Needs a Tune-Up
If the words “pee a little when you laugh” caught your attention, but you’re not sure exactly what the “pelvic floor” is, you’re not alone. Allow us to explain.
The pelvic floor is a hammock-like system of muscles, ligaments, and connective tissues that run from the base of your tailbone to your pelvic bone. Part of your core, the pelvic floor muscles keep your bladder, lower colon, cervix, uterus, vagina, and urethra firmly in place.
These muscles are important for several reasons, most importantly for urinary and fecal continence, but also for sexual satisfaction and overall health and well-being.
The bad news is that far too many women—as many as one in three—will experience bladder leakage at some point in their lives as a result of weakened pelvic floor muscles.
The good news is that, like all muscles in the body, the pelvic floor muscles can be strengthened with regular exercise.
Here are four signs you might be having pelvic floor troubles:
- You pee a little (or a lot) when you cough, laugh, or sneeze.
This is not normal. We repeat: This is not normal. Many women, especially those who have had children, just accept that weeing a little when a friend cracks a funny joke or when they physically exert themselves is just the way it is. While it’s true that a large number of women—around one in three—will experience bladder leakage at some point in her life, it’s not normal, and you don’t have to accept it as a part of life.
Doing Kegel exercises with an assistive device like PeriCoach can help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles for improved bladder control.
- You experience pain during sex.
Painful sex is often caused by pelvic organ prolapse, which is when a pelvic organ like the bladder or uterus slips from its normal position and presses against the walls of the vagina. Prolapses of the uterus are common and can range from mild to severe. Feeling pressure or a bulging sensation in your vagina are signs of prolapse. Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles can help reduce painful sex from prolapse.
Another common cause of painful sex is thinning of the vaginal tissues (common in menopausal and post-menopausal women), which can cause dryness, a feeling of tightness, and pain ranging from mild to severe; oral and/or topical estrogen can help with this.
- You keep getting urinary tract infections (UTIs).
There are lots of reasons women can get recurring UTIs, including not-so-obvious ones such as complications from diabetes, kidney stones, and, more commonly, from bacteria entering the urethra during sex (this is why it’s so important for women to pee after sex).
Recurring UTIs can also happen when a prolapsed organ puts too much pressure on the valve between the bladder and ureter (the ureter connects the kidneys to the bladder). Extra pressure on the valve can force bacteria up into the ureter and kidneys, causing an infection. Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles can help lift up sagging organs, relieving pressure on the bladder and ureter and putting an end to miserable UTIs.
- You’re backed up.
If you experience constipation, straining, or hard or thin stools, all the fiber in the world may not be enough—pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) could be the culprit. PFD causes impaired relaxation and coordination of the pelvic floor and adnominal muscles during defecation, making it hard to go.
Another possible cause of constipation: A prolapsed organ that pulls the rectum downward and creates an obstruction (imagine squeezing a garden hose). Biofeedback (using electrodes directly on the skin), and pelvic floor training with or without a pelvic floor exerciser can help reduce the symptoms of constipation caused by PFD or prolapse.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, pelvic floor training with PeriCoach can help. Learn more about how PeriCoach works and why it’s one of the best Kegel exercisers on the market today, and hear what the experts are saying.