10 Sep How Do I Work my Pelvic Floor Muscles?
The pelvic floor group of muscles act like any other muscle in your body, and they take consistent work to make them stronger and get them flexible. It is important that they get regular use, and you have to train your brain to know how to contract the pelvic floor muscles properly and build endurance and control.
A proper pelvic floor contraction, or a Kegel, is a lift: imagine a marble sitting outside your vagina and you want to just bring it inside.
Now that you can feel the muscles working, you can:
- Try to hold them strong and tight as you count to 5. Now, let them go and relax. You should have a distinct feeling of “letting go”.
- Repeat “squeeze and lift” and let go. It is best to rest for 2-3 seconds in between each lift up of the muscles. If you can’t hold for 5, just hold for as long as you can.
- Build up to 10 repetitions; if you can’t feel if you’re still contracting, then purposely let go and try again
- Start doing this exercise lying down; as you get better you can progress to sitting or standing
While doing pelvic floor muscle training
- keep breathing;
- only squeeze and lift through your pelvic floor muscles
- keep your buttocks and thighs relaxed
Other things you can do to help your pelvic floor muscles:
- Use “the knack” – that is, always try to “brace” your pelvic floor muscles (by squeezing up and holding) each time before you cough, sneeze or lift anything.
- Share the lifting of heavy loads.
- Don’t strain when using your bowels.
- Drink plenty of water
If you are not sure if you’re contracting your pelvic floor muscles properly, it is best to be assessed by a physiotherapist who works in pelvic health. There are other exercises and breathing work that can be done specifically for each individual as well.
If you are having a bladder or bowel control problem, get help from a physiotherapist who specializes in pelvic health. Even a small problem needs to be looked after. There is almost always something that can be done to help.