How to Sneeze

how to sneeze

How do you sneeze while being kind to your pelvic floor? Tighten up and let it go! Are you someone that tries to sneeze discreetly? Do you try to hold it in? Let me tell you what is happening when you don’t let that air out: 

  • Sneezing is a way to clear your passageway of something that is not welcome. If you don’t let it fly, the passage isn’t cleared. 
  • If you don’t let the air out your mouth and nose, that rapid intra-abdominal pressure increase is going to look for somewhere else to escape. If your deep core is not able to withstand the pressure, this could look like peeing/pooping your pants, experiencing hemorrhoids, pelvic organ prolapse, or hernia.  
  • If you don’t have symptoms initially with holding your sneeze in, you might expect it to happen as you age.  

Here’s what to do instead – tighten your pelvic floor (the muscles between your legs) before you sneeze. To tighten your pelvic floor muscles, first, identify the muscles by imagining you’re stopping the flow of urine or preventing passing gas. Once you’ve located them, contract these muscles by squeezing and lifting, without holding your breath or tensing other parts of your body. Then let the air explode out of your mouth when you sneeze.

This is how your muscles work together. If you have difficulty, pelvic floor physical therapy can help. With practice, these muscles will start working together automatically and you can rest assured that you are taking good care of your pelvic floor, pelvic organs, and abdominal cavity through appropriately managing your pressures when you sneeze.