NO LEAKS: 'Don't let your bladder run your life'
SOME senior Aussies are scared to cough, sneeze and laugh, all because of a single, potentially embarrassing, health issue.
A weak pelvic floor can potentially cause incontinence and bladder leakage, but WIRAC fitness instructor Ellie Kelso said the issue could be fixed.
"To have weakened pelvic floor muscles, really effects your quality of life, whether you're male or female," Ms Kelso said.
"Not just your physical capabilities but also your social outings."
Pelvic floor muscles maintain control over our bladder and bowel. They are the layer of muscles that support the pelvic organs and span the bottom of the pelvis.
Weakened pelvic floor muscles mean the internal organs are not fully supported and you may have difficulty controlling the release of urine, faeces or even wind.
"Think of your pelvis as a large bowl shape with a big opening in the bottom of it, that's where your pelvic floor is located," Ms Kelso said.
"The muscles act like a strong sling that supports your bladder, intestines and reproductive organs."
A fear of leakage is stopping many senior members of the community from getting the most out of their lives.
"A lot of people have a fear of leakage, which stops them from being active," Ms Kelso said.
"People avoid coughing, sneezing or even laughing in public to avoid exerting themselves."
Ms Kelso said due to embarrassment a lot of problems were misdiagnosed and could lead to further implications.
"A lot of people who experience leakage don't consult their medical professionals," she said.
"This could lead to further issues down the track."
It's never too late to start pelvic floor exercises, Ms Kelso said they should be done at least three times a day.
"The easiest exercise to do would be to stop the flow of urine, that way you can identify which muscles are working," Ms Kelso said.
Contracts and relaxes can be done at any moment not only while on the toilet.
Hip bridges, squats and kegels are some common exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor.