‘Women shouldn’t be ashamed of menopause – I see it as an opportunity’

A menopause expert has revealed the real thing you should be focusing on if you're going through menopause – and it could change your life.

Pelvic floor and menopause expert Jane Wake, 53, has revealed there's been an increase in women experiencing bladder leakage as women’s oestrogen levels reduce during menopause.

The issue can affect as many as one in two menopausal women, but many may be too nervous to open up about experiencing it.

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But, instead of living in fear, Jane has revealed something you can do that can really help to change the way you live.

She said if women start to pay more attention to their pelvic floors then they'll see huge differences in issues associated with leaking.

If you're not too clued up on where the pelvic floor is – it runs from the tailbone (Coccyx) to the pubic bone at the front, and also attaches to the sit bones.

It could be compared to a diamond-like shape on the inside ridge that lies at the bottom of the pelvis.

The pelvic floor also sits above the sphincter muscles, and these are commonly associated with pelvic floor exercise.

Learning to contract the sphincters can aid in helping to find the deeper pelvic floor sling.

The pelvic floor also functions with your breath so , when you inhale, they both expand as your ribs flare out.

Jane has recently teamed up with Always Discreet to create a simple exercise called "The Lift", and it will enable you to exercise your pelvic floor anywhere, at any time, to help prevent or reduce the chance of bladder leaks.

Speaking exclusively to The Daily Star, Jane said women need to be prepared to have honest talks about menopause, as well as being able to talk about those unwanted leaks.

She said: "We just don't talk about it. We don't have to put up with it.

"Sometimes it's a really difficult thing to talk about.

"There's lots you can do to prevent it from happening – it's not something you have to feel ashamed about.

"It stops women from doing things, it stops women from exercising."

Jane said it's the pelvic floor that people need to focus on to try and better things, though she makes it clear that if you have any major concerns then your first port of call should always be the GP.

She added: "I'm not saying it's going to work for everybody.

"There are lots of different reasons why, because people can differ."

The mum started out in the world of fitness having qualified as a fitness trainer when she was 19 – she then went onto specialise in women's health following the birth of her first son.

Now her passion lies within helping women to better their lives, and by helping to break the taboo when it comes to the topic of menopause.

This is why she's keen to promote "The Lift" exercise to help women fight off the leaks.

How do you perform the exercise?

According to Always, this is how you do "The Lift."

  • Contract the sphincter muscles around the anus – as if stopping going to the toilet from your back passage.

  • It really helps to sit or stand tall here (avoid tucking your tail bone or flexing your spine).

  • Once you’ve contracted your sphincter muscles at the back, think of going deeper, scooping up from your back passage and into the front, towards your pubic bone. Keep your spine tall.

  • Now continue to lift up and up as you exhale. Think of the lift going up five floors.

  • Can you count to five? Don’t worry if you can’t for now – that’s your end goal.

  • Now let it relax – try to feel the pelvic floor lower and take a slow breath or too before repeating again. This is important! Aim to do five to 10 lifts at a time.

Ideally, it's recommended that women build up to performing 10 repetitions, 10 times a day.

They can be done in blocks of three, or whenever is most convenient for you.

Jane said: "Exercise can make a really significant difference. After three weeks you could start to see a difference."

She also said women need to learn to love their pelvises more.

It may not be a part of the body that we like to talk about often, but Jane said women need to realise how important it is to nurture and take care of it.

Not to mention pelvic pain can lead to stress and anxiety and, in turn, this anxiety and stress can cause pelvic pain.

She added: "It's an area we need to learn to love – we don't like it for all sorts of different reasons. You carry your emotions in your pelvis. We must talk about it.

"Our mothers would be the generation who would never talk about it – we have to change all that."

Jane also said women need to try and stop thinking about menopause negatively.

Instead of focusing on long lists of potential symptoms, the key is understanding how it personally affects you and what you can do to better it.

Menopause shouldn't stop women living their lives and doing the things that they want to do, so it's good to keep an open mind and take each day as it comes.

"I look at menopause as something of an opportunity," she said.

"It's your opportunity to go 'right – it's about me now and it's my time – I'm now going to make time for myself.'

"'It's about being me for me'."


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