This time last year I was in Fiji with my family. We loved it so much, we've decided to do it again. After months of home renovation hibernation, it's time for some winter fun in the sun. I just hope I don't Pee in Fiji again!
I recently returned from an unforgettable week in Fiji. It was our first holiday in four years and it was awesome. I went with my husband, Mikey, our 3 year old daughter and my sister, Becci. Becci lives interstate, so we don’t get to see her much. We all thought it was a great opportunity to spend some quality time together, so we booked our Fijian resort for three adults and one child. I was wondering if the resort staff thought Mikey had two wives, but no-one seemed to care or were too polite to ask.
Before we left Australia, I was feeling pretty run down. I’d spent a solid six months getting the book finished, designed and published, and another month or so building a website and marketing the book before falling into a heap of exhaustion. I had been working day and night, while trying to maintain a home, parent an active 3 year old and do all the things we do in life. Three days before our departure date I developed a huge, ugly cold sore right in the middle of my lower lip. I then started coughing like a barking dog and a nasty head cold followed the next day. Great!
I was determined to have a fabulous time, even though I was feeling pretty miserable. It’s actually hard not to enjoy Fiji, the location is dreamy and the people are the friendliest I’ve ever met. Still, I was not well and I was getting worse. We arrived in Fiji on Saturday and by Thursday I was struggling to breathe or to leave the room. I made an appointment with the resort doctor and as it turned out, I had a nasty chest infection. I was prescribed bullet-sized antibiotics and an expectorant cough mixture. Hmmmm, this was the end of those yummy happy hour cocktails!
During my all-day-all-night coughing attacks, I noticed my pelvic floor muscles weren’t performing to optimum level. Each time I would cough or sneeze, I’d do a little wee in my pants. Having only packed enough underwear for our 7 day vacation, I had to do something quick to preserve my stock of undergarments and to catch the wee - so I bought a packet of panty liners. What would us ladies do without panty liners and why didn’t I pack an emergency pack anyway? I was due for my period soon, so they should have been packed and ready to go.
Years ago, and part of my research for the book, my friend April and I went to pelvic floor classes. I always knew how important these exercises were, and vowed to keep them up. Yet, somehow, somewhere in my crazy, hectic life, I forgot to do them. And now, I am paying for it. I fear I will be wearing incontinence pads for the rest of my days.
Sooooo, as a reminder to me, and a reminder to you out there, here’s a brief low-down on strengthening our pelvic floors...
First, you need to find them. To feel the urethral sphincter working, try stopping the flow of urine midstream. Notice the anal sphincter muscles by pretending you are trying to stop yourself breaking wind and squeeze tight. To locate the vaginal sphincter, insert one or two fingers inside your vagina and squeeze.
Squeeze and draw in the muscles around your back passage, vagina and front passage and lift up inside as if trying to stop passing wind and urine at the same time. (Great to do while you’re waiting for traffic lights to change or watching television – watch your facial expressions though).
Try to hold the muscles strong and tight as you count to eight. Now let them go and relax. You should have a distinct feeling of letting go.
Repeat the "squeeze, lift and hold" movement and let go. It is best to rest in between each lift up of the muscles. If you can't hold for a count of eight, just hold for as long as you can.
Repeat this "squeeze, lift and hold" contraction as many times as you can, up to a limit of eight to twelve contractions.
Try to do three sets of eight to twelve squeezes each, with a rest in between.
Do this whole training plan (three sets of eight to twelve squeezes) each day while lying down, sitting or standing. Try to vary the positions you use so that your muscles get used to working in different situations.