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What is the pelvic floor and why is it so important?

What is the pelvic floor and why is it so important?

When you think of exercise, you might think focusing on muscle groups such as the abs, legs, back and arms. While all those areas are important, we can’t forget to exercise the muscles that we can’t particularly see or feel. We’re talking about the pelvic floor muscles. Have you ever sneezed, coughed or laughed and found yourself peeing a little? You’re not alone! This could be due to weak pelvic floor muscles. Problems with the pelvic floor are common and could happen to anyone. Incontinence, painful sex and lower back pain are some of the challenges that can arise due to a weak pelvic floor. Here’s what you need to know!

What is the pelvic floor?

The pelvic floor comprises of muscles and connective tissues that are attached to your pelvis and are vital in supporting your bladder, urethra, intestines and rectum. In women, the pelvic floor also supports the uterus and the vagina. You could think about the pelvic floor as a shelf for your organs, so a strong shelf means a more secure support system for your organs.

How do you find pelvic floor muscles?

A good way to visualize the pelvic floor and its function is to picture these muscles at the bottom of the pelvis. When you have a full bladder and you’re trying to stop urine flow, you’re contracting the pelvic floor.

Another way to find those muscles while standing is to imagine that you need to pass gas but don’t want to let it out. The muscles you’re activating to hold it in, that is those surrounding your rectum and anus, make up part of your pelvic floor.

When engaging the pelvic floor, make sure to use all these muscles that span the bottom of your pelvis. If you only contract the muscles that stop the flow of urine but not the rectal muscles, you’re not getting a full contraction and therefore, the pelvic floor does not get strengthened. Imagine a sensation of hugging your organs from the bottom up.

It’s important to learn how to tighten and relax these muscles for optimal pelvic floor function. As you’re going about your daily routine, check in with yourself to see if you’re contracting these muscles and to what intensity.

Why is it important to maintain a strong pelvic floor?

  • Strengthening your pelvic floor allows you to better support the bladder, bowels and uterus, helping with bladder and bowel control.
  • A strong pelvic floor also protects against uterine prolapse, when the uterus loses support and bulges out of the vagina
  • For women, a strong pelvic floor can help during labor and delivery
  • Strengthening the pelvic floor can lead to better sex for both men and women. Experts say that strengthening these muscles can potentially improve erectile dysfunction issues as well as boost sexual sensation for women.

How do you strengthen your pelvic floor muscles?

Both contracting and relaxing your pelvic floor muscles is key, and not just solely focusing on contraction.

Kegel exercises help with contraction of the muscles.

  • Find the right muscles as mentioned above
  • Imagine you’re sitting on an exercise ball with a marble inside of it. Picture vacuuming up the marble using pelvic floor muscles. Tighten for 3 seconds to lift the marble.
  • Relax for 3 seconds by taking a deep breath in and feel the air pouring into your lungs, your abdomen and down to your pelvic floor like a jug of water.
  • Make sure to not tighten your abs, thighs or butt and to keep breathing instead of holding your breath
  • Do 3 sets of 10 contractions and try to incorporate this exercise throughout your day

Relax your pelvic floor by incorporating some of these movements into your exercise routines.

pelvic floor exercises

You may think pelvic health is not an important factor to consider when looking at your overall health. But a strong pelvic floor can do wonders for you when it comes to your reproductive system, your sex life and your confidence (no leakages!).

If you’re having bowel or bladder control problems or pain during sex, speak to a physiotherapist or sexual health practitioner on oDoc who can help you find the right treatment. Download the app now.


  • 9 Things You Might Not Know About A Pelvic Floor And Why It Matters, 2021, Mind Body Green
  • 5 Pelvic Floor Exercises for Anyone and Everyone, 2021, Healthline
  • What are pelvic floor exercises, 2020, NHS

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Your little boy’s shift from squeaky to deep! – Parents, here’s what your teen needs to know

Your little boy’s shift from squeaky to deep! - Parents, here’s what your teen needs to know


What’s Puberty?

Even when kids are younger, they start asking questions about their bodies and even yours. It can be stressful if you aren’t prepared or sure about the answers, but it doesn’t have to be that way! If you start early and talk to them often, then talking about puberty when they get older will be a lot easier.

To help you out, here are some facts about their changing bodies as they grow from being your little boy to a teen who’s going through puberty.

Puberty is the stage of life when a child’s body transitions into an adult body capable of sexual reproduction. Puberty is a normal and healthy part of development for girls and boys. Hormonal changes result in sexual and other physical maturation that happens during puberty.

What changes will happen during puberty?

Puberty starts a bit later, between 10 and 14 years of age for most boys.

There are certain stages of development that boys go through when developing secondary sex characteristics.

  • The first puberty change is the enlargement of the scrotum and testes. 
  • Hair will start to grow in the genital area. Boys will also have hair growth on their faces, under their arms, and on their legs.
  • The pubic hair eventually looks like adult hair, but in a smaller area. It may spread to the thighs and sometimes up the stomach.
  • Body size will increase. Sometimes the feet, arms, legs, and hands may grow faster than the rest of the body, and this may cause a teen to feel clumsy.
  • Some boys may get some swelling in the breast area. This is a common  result of the hormonal changes that are happening.
  • Voice changes may happen as the voice gets deeper. 
  • As the penis enlarges, he may begin to have erections. This is when the penis becomes hard and erect because it is filled with blood. This is due to hormonal changes and may happen when the boy fantasises about sexual things. Or it may happen for no reason at all, and this is normal.
  • During puberty, a boy’s body also begins making sperm. Semen, made up of sperm and other body fluids, may be released during an erection, called ejaculation. Sometimes it may happen while the teen sleeps, which is called a wet dream (nocturnal emission). This is a normal part of puberty. Once the sperm has been made and ejaculation happens, teen boys who have sex can get someone pregnant.

As your adolescent begins to struggle for independence and control, many changes may happen. The following are some issues that your adolescent could face during these years:

  • Wants independence from parents
  • Peer influence and acceptance becomes significant
  • Romantic and sexual relationships become important
  • May fall in love

How to assist your adolescent in developing socially?

Puberty can be challenging for both kids and parents. In addition to causing many physical changes, hormones are also causing emotional changes. You may notice your child is moody or behaving differently. 

It’s essential to make a conscious effort to react with patience and understanding. Your child may be feeling insecure about their changing body, including their acne. 

Talk about these changes and reassure your child that it’s a normal part of maturing. However, if something is particularly troubling, talk to a doctor via oDoc.

Consider the following as ways to foster your adolescent’s social abilities:

  • Encourage your adolescent to take on new challenges.
  • Talk with your adolescent about not losing sight of oneself in group relations.
  • Encourage your adolescent to talk to a trusted adult about problems or concerns, even if it is not you that they choose to speak.
  • Talk to them regarding ways to manage and handle stress.
  • Provide consistent, loving discipline with limits, restrictions, and rewards.
  • Find ways to spend time together.

If you have any concerns regarding your son’s sexual growth, you can speak to a doctor via the oDoc app from the comfort and privacy of your home. GPs and Family Physicians are also available to consult.

Download oDoc today on the App Store or Play store.


  1. Puberty: Adolescent Male, Johns Hopkins (2021)
  2. The Growing Child: Adolescent 13 to 18 Years, Johns Hopkins (2021)
  3. The Stages of Puberty: Development in Girls and Boys, Healthline (2018)
  4. Physical Development in Boys: What to Expect, (2015)
Blog Article

A Future Without Antibiotics

A Future Without Antibiotics


You are walking on the street, minding your own business, when suddenly you feel a piercing pain in your foot. You look at the sole of your slipper to realise you’ve stepped on a rusty nail. You hobble to a nearby bench and slowly remove the nail from your slipper. Then you take off your slipper to see that there’s a puncture wound in your foot and it’s bleeding, but it’s not too bad, you figure you can get home so you put your slipper back on and hobble home.

Once you get home, you clean the wound with antiseptic. You call your doctor on oDoc and are advised to take a course of antibiotics and to air out the wound. In a few days, the wound has healed and your back on your feet again.

But what if there were no antibiotics? What if it were 1850?

The bacteria on the nail would have entered the wound. Your immune cells would have waged a courageous battle. The bacteria would have proliferated and entered into your bloodstream and if unlucky enough, it would have led to sepsis, organ failure and death.

Before antibiotics

Before 1926, 90% of children with bacterial meningitis died(1). Diseases like tuberculosis, pneumonia or even ear infections were left unchecked and resulted in severe lasting damage or death. During wartime, injuries incurred during battles would often lead to debilitating illnesses, severe side effects, amputations and death.

Discovery of antibiotics

The discovery of penicillin by Alexander Fleming in 1928 led to a revolution in medicine and peoples’ quality of life. A simple ear infection would remain an ear infection instead of spreading to the brain. People would recover faster and were now able to live longer. The future arrived.

The evolution of bacteria

In the last ca. 100 years, with every cough or fever no longer requiring us to battle for our lives, we’ve been able to build industries and advance technologies. Countries like Sri Lanka have been able to harness the combined power of antibiotics, clean water and infrastructure development to pull people up from under the poverty line.

During this time, bacteria haven’t sat idle. For millions of years, bacteria have thrived via evolution. Whatever environment they find themselves in, whatever enemy they find themselves battling, those that survive, evolve to benefit future generations. And unlike us humans, future generations occur every 30 seconds.

Let’s go back to the puncture wound you suffered during your stroll. The doctor prescribes you a course of antibiotics for five days. When you begin to take the antibiotics, they wreak havoc on the bacterial cells – preventing them from multiplying and destroying their cell walls. Most of the bacteria begin to die and you start to feel better. But regardless, you continue to take antibiotics for the full five days and wipe out all the bacteria. Success!

Antibiotic resistance

However, by the 1950s, doctors began to note that penicillin was not able to control bacterial infections as well as it had done a decade or two earlier. Bacteria seem to not be as susceptible as they once were. How could that happen?

Rewinding back to when you felt better three days after starting the course of antibiotics. What if instead of continuing on, you decided to stop the antibiotics and go back to living your best life? What will happen inside your body?

Though enough bacteria were destroyed by the antibiotics so you no longer feel sick, there remained a few stragglers hanging about assessing the damage. Those stragglers take note of the artillery used by the antibiotics and when they reproduce, they mutate ever so slightly so the next generation will have some protection from that specific artillery. All bacteria care about is survival.

Replicating this millions of times around the world and combining it with the age old adage “survival of the fittest”, we encounter antibiotic resistance. Bacteria that are no longer affected by the ammunition we throw at them.

Anything that exposes the bacteria to a said antibiotic and still allows it to survive would contribute to antibiotic resistance. Some real world examples(2):

  • Over-prescription of antibiotics: too much antibiotics for too many diseases that don’t require antibiotic prescriptions.
  • Unregulated prescriptions: being able to purchase antibiotics over the counter means people will self-medicate and overuse antibiotics without medical guidance
  • Inappropriate prescriptions: antibiotics have been prescribed for viral or fungal diseases where antibiotics play no role.
  • Agricultural use: to ensure a continuous food supply and meet demand, animal farmers inject antibiotics into animal feed. This brings extra antibiotics into the human food chain.

No more antibiotics

Over the last 50 years, drug companies were able to develop new antibiotics to counteract the resistance that was being developed towards older antibiotics. However, the pipelines are now drying up due to insufficient funding. Of 18 major pharma companies, 14 no longer work in developing antibiotics.

Without antibiotics, we are hindered in our ability to fight diseases we no longer consider fatal. As per the WHO, “When infections can no longer be treated by first-line antibiotics, more expensive medicines must be used. A longer duration of illness and treatment, often in hospitals, increases health care costs as well as the economic burden on families and societies. Antibiotic resistance is putting the achievements of modern medicine at risk. Organ transplantations, chemotherapy and surgeries such as caesarean sections become much more dangerous without effective antibiotics for the prevention and treatment of infections.”(3)

It’s imperative that we all play our part in preventing a return to the dark ages.

How can we prevent antibiotic resistance?

  • Only use antibiotics when prescribed by a doctor
  • Always complete your course of antibiotics regardless of how you feel
  • Never share or use leftover antibiotics
  • Never demand antibiotics from your doctor
  • Consume organic where possible

If you’d like to discuss how antibiotic resistance may be affecting you or your loved one with a doctor, download oDoc today!


  • The History of Antibiotics,
  • Ventola, C., (2015)., The Antibiotic Resistance Crisis., Pharmacy & Therapeutics., 40:277-283
  • Antibiotic Resistance , WHO

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