The short answer to who would benefit from Hypopressives training is EVERYONE!
Hypopressives should be seen as the foundation for all other physical activity as well as a stand-Hypopressive form of exercise. However, the function of very specific groups of people could be improved substantially if they were to learn the Hypopressives.
The statistics regarding the number of women who suffering from incontinence issues is staggering. It is estimated that approximately 46% of all women suffer with some kind of incontinence. This can range from having no bladder control whatsoever to occasional leaks when exercising, coughing or sneezing, for example.
This situation is often made worse after a woman has had a baby and the effects amplified by subsequent births.
Let’s be clear about this……….NO LEAKAGE IS “NORMAL”………….WHATEVER ANYONE TELLS YOU.
More importantly, Tena Lady is not the answer to your problem. Such products are only ever going to address the symptoms and not the cause of the problem.
In addition, traditional pelvic floor training is likely to have a limited effect on the problem at best.
Men too can suffer from urinary issues. Many men over 50 years of age, and often younger, exhibit symptoms of an enlarged prostate gland. This then puts pressure on the urethra and causes incontinence. This increased pressure can also manifest itself in the need to get up more often in the night to go to the toilet.
A pelvic floor with proper resting tone is vital in order to order to avoid problems with the urethra, and hence incontinence issues.
TYPES OF INCONTINENCE:
There are 5 main types of Incontinence:
Stress Incontinence (SUI):
- This involves an involuntary loss of urine after an increase in intra-abdominal pressure, like coughing, sneezing and laughing, exercising, lifting
- Increased urethral mobility is the best diagnostic tool for SUI
- Characterised by only a small amount of urine loss
- Usually caused by a weak pelvic floor
Urge Incontinence or Overactive Bladder (UI):
- Defined as a sudden loss of bladder control just after an overwhelming urge to go to the toilet
- There is urine loss before you can make it to the toilet
- Sometimes there is a small amount of urine loss and sometimes there will be a complete emptying of the bladder
- Can be caused by bladder muscle (Detrusor) instability, weak or tight pelvic floor muscles or an overstimulated Sympathetic Nervous System
- Can be worsened by depression and anxiety
- The bladder doesn’t empty normally and becomes distended and full
- There is a constant dribbling, or loss, of urine
- The bladder may never feel completely empty
- Urinary leakage associated with a problem cognitive or physical function, such as a broken hip or pelvis, psychological issues or environmental barriers to the toilet
- Occupational therapists can be of great help with this kind of issue
- Loss of urine associated with intra-abdominal pressure (stress incontinence) and with an intense urge to urinate (urge incontinence)
- It’s very common to have a mix of both UI and SUI, rather than just one or the other
It’s important to understand that incontinence can happen to anyone and is very common. So, whether you have it or want to prevent it ever occurring Hypopressives could be the answer.
Hypopressives are PROVEN to have a positive effect on both the treatment and prevention of incontinence. If you’ve been to your doctor, gynaecologist or pelvic floor specialist, the ONLY reason that Hypopressives would not have been mentioned a means of treatment for your problem is that the medical practitioner that you saw doesn’t know about it!
Pelvic Organ Prolapse Issues
A pelvic organ prolapse (POP) can be described as a protrusion at or near the vaginal opening, which may be accompanied by perineal pressure; between the vagina and anus. It is generally aggravated by standing and relieved by lying down.
One of the main problems with a POP is that there is often no symptoms or pain. So, a person can have a prolapse without being aware of it at all. For an example of how a prolapse can go unnoticed please read the testimony of Canadian Hypopressive manager, Trista Zinn, in her blog:
In fact, this blog is well worth a read to give you a greater understanding of the powerful effects of Hypopressives.
Where there are symptoms, it’s useful to ask the following questions:
• Do you have problems in starting your urine flow?
• Do you have heaviness in the vagina or rectum?
• Do you have to strain in order to have a bowel movement or to pass urine?
• Does it feel like your “insides” are falling out?
• Do you have pain or discomfort during intercourse?
• Are you constipated?
If you have answered “Yes” to one or more of these questions, you may have a prolapse and that prolapse is named according to the organ which is protruding into the vaginal canal:
• Cystocele = Prolapse of the bladder
• Enterocele = Prolapse of the intestines
• Rectocele = Prolapse of the rectum
• Urethrocele = Prolapse of the Urethra
• Uterine Prolapse = Prolapse of the Uterus
• Vaginal Vault Prolapse = Prolapse of the top of the vagina after a hysterectomy
As with incontinence, POP is more common than most people realise. However, like incontinence of any kind, it’s not normal. If left untreated, it is likely to worsen. In fact, UK Hypopressives has worked with women with multiple prolapses.
If you believe that you may have a prolapse you should be evaluated by a family doctor, gynaecologist or pelvic floor specialist. They will be able to determine whether you have a prolapse and what grade that prolapse currently is.
There are varying systems to determining the grade of a POP. One such is the Baden-Walker system of evaluation:
Baden-Walker System for the Evaluation of Pelvic Organ Prolapse on Physical Examination
Maximum possible descent for each site
One of the reasons that it’s important to attempt to prevent and treat POP is that once a prolapse reaches grade 3, where the respective organ is outside of the body, there is very little that can be done aside from surgery. Surgery success rates are not great.
Even surgeons agree that an operation should be the last resort in the treatment of POP. At UK Hypopressives we have success in reversing both grade 1 & 2 prolapses and in alleviating symptoms in grade 3 clients.
Hypopressives are a suitable non-invasive method that has proven success in treating POP clients.
Hypopressives appears to be a more effective treatment for POP than traditional methods. Often it can work well in conjunction with those methods. More importantly, it can negate the need for invasive surgery, which has proven to be an ineffective treatment for a large number who undergo it.
Post Natal Women
We’ve always been concerned with the way especially post-natal women are trained physically. Instinctively it never felt right that a body that had been through so much physical trauma could be give the all-clear to resume ‘normal’ hyperpressive activity after just 6 weeks.
Many women are understandably keen to reduce their child bearing years to a minimum and it’s not unheard of for some to have three children under the age of 4-6 years.
From a physical view this is very damaging as connective tissue, stretched and often torn during pregnancy and childbirth, needs 3 years to recover fully. So, having babies closer together is not a good idea if you want to get back your pre-pregnancy body.
As mentioned previously, the biggest problem with traditional training for post-natal women is that it generally raises internal pressure; compounding the physical problems left by the pregnancy and birth.
Obviously most women put on weight around the middle and they are often left with distended abdomens. So the focus with their initial training can often be around traditional abdominal training such as sit ups and crunches.
These exercises are a disaster for post-natal women. Not only will they not reduce waist size, they are also very hyperpressive. In addition they create high compressive forces through the lower back.
Most women are left with a diastis, a separation of the abdominal wall, post pregnancy. This can get larger with subsequent pregnancies, especially if it’s not addressed after each child. Again, exercises like crunches make that separation worse.
The abdominal wall and pelvic floor have similar muscle fibre composition. They are both about 70% connective tissue and just 30% muscle. Of that 30% of muscle tissue, about 80% is type I fibres, which are associated with posture. The rest is type II fibres, typically targeted by, for example, abdominal crunches and the mainstay of pelvic exercise for women……kegels.
Type II fibres are still important but 80% of the focus ought to be on 80% of the fibres.
These are the fibres that Hypopressives target. That’s why research has shown an average 8% reduction in waist size for those who undergo 2 months’ of Hypopressives, with no changes in diet.
There are a couple of practical advantages of Hypopressives over other forms of exercise for post natal women.
For those women anxious to try and get their pre-pregnancy bodies back as quickly as possible, Hypopressives can be normally be started 3 weeks post birth. This assumes a ‘normal’ birth with no complications.
In addition, after the first 5 weeks of Hypopressive training, you only need to dedicate 20-25 minutes a day to Hypopressives for 30 days. Once that’s completed Hypopressives ought to be incorporated into your life to aid in managing the pressure of other physical training and life in general. Hypopressives, therefore, are not a huge time burden. This is especially so because they can be done in the home; no travel time involved.
All of these factors make Hypopressives the only sensible choice for women who want to get back in shape safely after having a baby.
Back Pain and Posture
One of the more interesting and visible benefits of Hypopressives are the improvement in posture that we regularly see with our clients.
Whilst it’s pretty amazing to be able to reduce a grade 2 pelvic organ prolapse to back to a zero, or to eliminate embarrassing urinary leaks, no one can actually see those results! However, what you do notice in those who complete our Hypopressive training is a great improvement in their posture and the way they carry themselves generally. With that often comes a reduction in back and neck pain particularly.
The cause of poor posture is numerous and the prevalence in today’s society even more so. As a species we now sit down and are inactive more than any generation before us. This has resulted in an increase in, especially, kyphosis (excessive curvature of the thoracic spine).
We regularly see clients with significant forward head carriage. It’s believed that for every centimetre a person’s head is forward of its optimum position, there is an extra 35lbs of pressure going through the neck and spine. It’s no wonder that people are suffering with neck and back pain.
So, much of our posture is acquired through the way we use our body and develop the muscles. In that respect posture is always changing and adapting. In the long term, general trends in daily fatigue patterns can have a cumulative effect, which gradually changes posture more permanently.
Upright posture is maintained by a number of muscles running down the front and back of the body. Those muscles need to balance each other in terms of strength and tension, and together resist gravitational forces. Postural changes will nearly always be in a downward direction, as fatigue or injury reduces the ability of the postural muscles to combat gravity. This will create increased curvature in certain sections of the spine.
No common postural imbalances will occur in isolation as an imbalance in one area will generally lead to imbalances developing in adjacent areas as they compensate.
Postural imbalance doesn’t only occur in anterior and posterior planes. They can also happen in lateral and rotational directions. Where posture is compromised over a long period of time, pain is sure to follow as some muscles weaken and others overwork to compensate.
Hypopressives address a person’s postural issues, particularly in the posterior chain.
Research studies have demonstrated reductions in excessive lumbar and cervical lordosis and thoracic kyphosis. Interestingly, they also show significant reductions in scoliosis. In addition postural comfort was reported in the form of better mobility, flexibility, less heaviness and reduction in pain.
Our subjective analysis is that Hypopressives have outstanding results in postural improvements. Every client we have worked with has demonstrated this. Therefore, we regard Hypopressives as a fantastic tool for addressing postural dysfunction
HERNIA (including vertebral disc hernia) issues
The word Hernia means “something coming through”. With regards to the human body it specifically refers to the displacement and protrusion of part of an organ through the wall of the cavity containing it.
With regards to Hypopressives, a hernia is another sign of the poor management of internal pressure. Whereas with women poor internal pressure management can result in pelvic organ prolapse, with men you are more likely to see a hernia issue arise.
Remember pressure will always find its weakest point. So, the kinds of hernias we see mostly in men, and the ones that Hypopressives can help to prevent, are inguinal, umbilical and disc related.
This is the most common hernia (about 70% of all hernias). They occur in the groin, the small area of the lower abdomen on each side just above the line separating the abdomen and the legs, and around the pubic bone. The inguinal canal is smaller in women and, therefore, they are not so prone to hernias in this area.
Symptoms include a lump, bulge or swelling under the skin. It may be a bit uncomfortable. The swelling will often disappear completely when laying down, as the contents of the hernia sac slip back through the hole into the abdomen. It may also be aggravated by coughing, sneezing, and other activities that increase internal pressure.
Sometimes there is hardly any visible swelling, but you may be conscious of a strange feeling in the groin when standing or walking for any period of time.
These hernias are also referred to as primary midline abdominal hernias.
Umbilical (navel) hernias occur actually in the middle of the navel. The inside of the navel sticks out. Sometimes the swelling is just above the navel so a swelling will present just above the umbilicus. In fact you can get a hernia anywhere down the middle of your abdomen, from navel to breast bone.
When they occur a bit higher up they are called epigastric hernias. So these hernias always occur in the midline, straight down the middle, because they come out between the two rectus muscles. The lump may sometimes seem to be off to one side, but the actual defect (the hole) is always in the midline.
A herniated disc refers is a problem associated with one of the rubbery cushions (discs) between the vertebrae.
A spinal disc has a softer centre encased within a tougher exterior. Sometimes called a slipped disc or a ruptured disc, a herniated disc occurs when some of the softer “jelly” pushes out through a crack in the tougher exterior.
A herniated disc can irritate nearby nerves and result in pain, numbness or weakness in an arm or leg. On the other hand, many people experience no symptoms from a herniated disc. Most people who have a herniated disc don’t need surgery to correct the problem.
You can have a herniated disc without knowing it — herniated discs sometimes show up on spinal images of people who have no symptoms of a disc problem. But some herniated discs can be painful. Most herniated discs occur in your lower back (lumbar spine), although they can also occur in your neck (cervical spine).
The most common signs and symptoms of a herniated disc are:
• Arm or leg pain. If your herniated disc is in your lower back, you’ll typically feel the most intense pain in your buttocks, thigh and calf. It may also involve part of the foot. If your herniated disc is in your neck, the pain will typically be most intense in the shoulder and arm. This pain may shoot into your arm or leg when you cough, sneeze or move your spine into certain positions.
• Numbness or tingling. People who have a herniated disc often experience numbness or tingling in the body part served by the affected nerves.
• Weakness. Muscles served by the affected nerves tend to weaken. This may cause you to stumble, or impair your ability to lift or hold items.
There are many reasons why a disc might herniate and the mismanagement of internal pressure is one of them.
Hypopressives can help those suffering from herniated disc issues and can act as a preventative measure too. It’s always better to try not to let these physical conditions occur in the first place. The way in which the HM does this is by creating a stronger core, reducing internal pressure and by creating greater space between vertebrae.
The result of increases in internal pressure particularly in the pelvic cavity, especially pressure from physical exercise and sport, can be a reduction in sexual function. Hypopressives can help address the following:
• Decrease in perineal resting tone
• Decrease in blood flow
• Decrease in sexual sensitivity
• No orgasms or a decrease in the intensity of orgasms
• Pain during sexual intercourse
It is said that the deterioration of the pelvic floor muscles that cause incontinence also decrease the quality of sexual relations significantly. A 1998 study found that some women do not receive sufficient stimulation and orgasms are less intense or not present at all. Some even suffer from incontinence during the sexual act.
It’s also obvious that if a woman is suffering from either incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse issues, as well as coping with the physical disability, there is also likely to be a significant psychological barrier to sexual activity.
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We recognise that Hypopressives is new to most people. There are costs associated with getting trained; generally speaking, the longer the training the greater the cost. So, we have devised workshops which provide a basic theoretical and practical framework for people who want to dip their toes in the Hypopressive water but aren’t ready to commit to being fully trained. Consider them as the starting point for learning Hypopressives, whether you’re a member of the public or a fitness professional.