On May 10, 2022, CFReSHC collaborated with Beam for a Pelvic Floor Workshop. Lizzie van Dongen, a Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist and Pilates Instructor with cystic fibrosis led a very informative presentation and demonstration on the importance of engaging the pelvic floor.
Lizzie discussed the anatomy and physiology of the pelvic floor, explaining how it works, how it becomes stressed, what can be done for preventative care, and a bit about restorative care. She described how the pelvic floor is the group of muscles that wrap around the exits of our bladder and bowel, that help support them in functioning, and what happens when they’re not functioning properly.
Urge incontinence is when a person is unable to hold anything in: “when they need to go, they *NEED* to go.” Stress incontinence is when a person experiences involuntary loss of control when under stressors like coughing, laughing, jumping, or sneezing. Mixed incontinence is a combination of both. CFReSCH has provided a chapter on incontinence and its impact on people with CF in their Sexual and Reproductive Guide.
Lizzie reported that people assigned female at birth with CF experience urinary incontinence at around twice the rate of those who don’t have CF: 30-76% compared to 8-35%! People assigned male at birth with CF also see a higher rate than their non-CF peers: 2.6%-14% compared to 4.8%. Age, disease progression, and frequency of lung exacerbations are predicting factors.
In the interactive portion of the workshop, Lizzie demonstrated different ways to activate the pelvic floor muscles, and suggested times throughout the day when a person could practice the exercises.
The recording of this workshop will be available on CFReSHC’s Youtube Channel soon!