Exercises to strengthen your Pelvic Floor
Try exercises to strengthen your Pelvic Floor
A recent survey of 3,000 women in doctor’s waiting rooms found that almost half had experienced incontinence in the past month. 80% of teenage girls wet themselves while trampolining!
It doesn’t have to be that way, exercise your Pelvic Floor.
Your pelvic floor is a sheet of muscle that is like a hammock between your legs. This hammock supports the contents of your abdomen holding the bladder, uterus, vagina and bowel in place. When this muscle isn’t strong, the organs can move out of place and the openings don’t stay closed, so when you “stress” the area by laughing, jumping, sneezing or whatever, you can leak.
The biggest contributory factor to stress incontinence is pregnancy and giving birth. The weight of the baby on this “hammock” of muscles stretches them even more. If the muscles were struggling before you got pregnant, they will not work terribly well afterwards!
Just like every other muscle in your body, you can exercise your pelvic floor to strengthen it and prevent leaking. This will also improve your sex life, flatten your belly and help to take care of and support your back, another area often affected by pregnancy.
Find your pelvic floor
The problem for many women is they don’t know how to locate their pelvic floor muscles to know if they are “doing it right”. If you can’t you need to get help and this can come in many different forms.
Pilates teaches you to control your core muscles as well as your pelvic floor. This is an especially good option if you are experiencing back pain as well. There are also special “tools” which you can purchase to stimulate the muscles. Using these regularly will help to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and keep them strong.
Your physiotherapist should be able to explain how to activate these muscles and help to teach exercises to strengthen them. This is especially important if this muscle weakness is causing regular back problems or you have been diagnosed with pubic symphysis. Retraining and strengthening your core muscles can help to relieve these issues.
To help strengthen your pelvic floor I recommend doing the following exercises 3 times a day. These can be done anywhere and at any time, perhaps on the bus or watching a film!
- Stand or sit with legs slightly apart (not wide, simply not touching) and lift your pelvic floor up and in (imagine gripping a tampon).
- Do 10 short contractions, like a yo-yo.
- Do 10 long squeezes, holding for 5 to 10 seconds. Make sure to relax completely between each squeeze.
- Do another 10 short, yo-yo contractions.
If you do these exercises 3 times a day for 3 months you will see a significant improvement and it can even cure stress incontinence altogether! Not bad for something you can do anywhere with no one any the wiser.