TEMPERATURES have plunged across the UK, with many of us now experiencing a winter chill.
And an expert has warned that the 'super cold' could have devastating consequences for your health 'down there'.
Up to nine inches of snow are expected to hit Britain this week, with no respite from the cold until December.
Experts have previously warned that 'winter vagina' could become uncomfortable and suggested their tips to keep it in good condition this winter.
Pelvic health physiotherapist Clare Bourne said the cold weather can wreak havoc on your pelvic floor, and subsequently lead to issues with incontinence.
Research from female technology brand Elvie found that 45 per cent of British women need a wee more when it's cold.
But Elvie's 'Leaking the Truth' campaign found that 90 per cent of women admitted putting off going the loo.
Around 47 per cent said this was because they didn't want to get out of bed, with 37 per cent saying it was because they didn't want to get out of a queue in a shop or lining up to get into a venue.
Claire explained: "When you’re cold, blood vessels constrict to get more blood and warmth to our vital organs.
"This means that your blood pressure increases temporarily and to control our blood pressure the kidneys filter out any excess fluid, which results in us needing to pass urine more frequently.
"We get the urge to do a wee when the bladder sends a message to the brain to say there is urine present. This initially occurs before our bladder is totally full so we have time to find a toilet.
“If we repeatedly ignore the urge to go and spend long periods of time holding in urine this can lead to pelvic floor tension, which can lead to other symptoms."
She said that having a strong and flexible pelvic floor will allow you to hold when you need to and prevent any leakages while you’re waiting to get to a loo.
"Urinary leaks can have such a huge impact on a woman's daily life, her self-confidence, and her mental health", she added.
Claire said that the cold snap being felt across the UK will also unearth incontinence for many women.
Around 54 per cent of women leak when they cough and sneeze – otherwise known as stress urinary incontinence, the Elvie report found.
Clare’s top tips for stopping that ‘little bit of wee’ coming out
If you’re struggling with incontinence, Claire said there are some things you can do to help control it.
Strengthen your pelvic floor muscles: Having a strong and flexible pelvic floor will help you to hold on in the times you need it most.
Make sure you’re doing your Kegels correctly: Performing a contraction of the pelvic floor correctly is essential
Take care of your bladder: Stay wrapped up nice and warm and reduce your intake of bladder irritants, such as caffeine and alcohol.
Speak to your doctor for support: If you are experiencing urine leaks or notice you are passing urine more frequently during the day or night which is impacting your daily life, seek support from your GP. You don’t have to suffer in silence.
Claire added that this is a sign that your pelvic floor can't cope with the significant increase in intra abdominal pressure that occurs during a cough or sneeze.
She added: "Repeated coughing can cause the pelvic floor to tire, and over time weaken these muscles, which can lead to increased symptoms of incontinence or prolapse."
To help with incontinence, Claire said you need to make sure you are keeping on top of your Kegel exercises and that you can also use a pelvic floor trainer.
It's important that women of all ages do the exercises as the report found that a third of women associate incontinence with older women.
Around two thirds of women aged 18-35 said they experienced leak at least once a week, with one in ten experiencing leaks daily.
When it comes to women over the age of 35 around 70 per cent experienced leaks more than once a week, with 10 per cent saying that leaked daily.
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