What Are Pelvic Floor Exercises?
Pelvic floor exercises are exercises that are designed to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor. These muscles include those of the bladder, anus, vagina, and lower abdomen. The pelvic floor supports nearly all the organs of the lower abdomen, including the bladder, intestines, and reproductive organs of both sexes.
Benefits of Pelvic Floor Exercises
Pelvic floor exercises strengthen the pelvic floor to help people who have problems with bowel and bladder control. Some other benefits include:
helping in recovery after childbirth
reducing the risk of vaginal prolapse
reducing the risk of rectal prolapse
help speed up recovery after prostate surgery
sexual performance enhancement
increased enjoyment of sex
Types of Pelvic Floor Exercises
There are several types of pelvic exercises, including:
Kegel exercises were created by Arnold Kegel in the 1940s to help women recover from urinary incontinence due to the strain of childbirth. Today, they are very popular with women due to how relatively easy they are to do and are usually used to strengthen the vaginal muscles. Kegel exercises are used to control and tighten the muscles that control the flow of urine. Doing a kegel feels like trying to urinate and then holding it. You can perform Kegel exercises in a few simple steps:
To do a kegel, you must first locate the muscles that stop urine flow. One way is by inserting a finger into the vagina. Afterwards, attempt to tighten the muscles around it as if you’re holding in urine, then release. After locating the right muscles, you can now do the exercises.
Make sure your bladder is empty, then sit or lie down in a comfortable position.
Tighten or contract the muscles you need to strengthen.
Hold and count for 3-5 seconds, then release them.
Relax for another 3-5 seconds and repeat this 10 times. You have now completed a set.
You can do up to three sets a day as a beginner and more as you progress.
Other Tips for Improving Pelvic Muscle Tone:
Make the exercises a habit. You can do them while going about your normal daily activities.
Try tightening your pelvic muscles when you cough, carry a heavy object, sneeze, or laugh. This will improve pelvic muscle tone.
Stay hydrated. Drink mostly water, and avoid caffeine and energy drinks.
Do your best to maintain good posture while standing, sitting, and walking.
Things to keep in mind
As with nearly everything in life, moderation is key.
Avoid doing too many pelvic exercises at once. Instead, start with a few comfortable exercises and do more as you get used to the activities.
Be patient and give the exercises you are doing enough time to have an effect. You may have to perform the exercises for up to three months before you see any significant changes.
Not everyone will benefit from pelvic floor exercises. Some people have hypertonic muscles, which means that the muscles of their pelvic floor are too tense. If you think this might be you, try talking to your doctor for recommendations.
Finally, remember that as useful as pelvic exercises are, they are not going to be the solution to every issue. Sometimes, seeking expert help is necessary. Remember to listen to your body and its needs as much as possible.