Did you know that roughly 24 percent of women in the United States are affected by a pelvic floor disorder (PFD)? This means that it’s possible that either you have dealt with a PFD or know someone who has. One of the best non-surgical treatments to alleviate any pain is strengthening your pelvic floor muscles. Learn how to identify the muscles in your pelvis, as well as exercises you can practice to improve your pelvic floor!
Identifying Your Pelvic Muscles
Identifying the muscles in your pelvic floor seems like it might be a difficult task, but with practice and perseverance, you’ll be on your way to improving your pelvic health. So, how do you find your pelvic floor muscles if they are nestled inside your pelvic region?
There are three ways that you may be able to identify your pelvic muscles:
- Locate the muscles surrounding your bladder opening by starting and stopping a stream of urine. If you are able to stop the flow of urine mid-stream, you’ve used your pelvic floor muscles!
- Locate the muscles around your back passage (rectum). If you are able to tighten these muscles by holding wind (gas) or at the end of a bowel movement, you’ve used your pelvic floor muscles!
- Locate your muscles when you properly squeeze your pelvic floor by engaging muscles in an upward motion. If you notice the upward movement of your muscles, you’re using your pelvic floor muscles!
Knowing where your pelvic muscles are located is just as important as performing the exercises. If you’re unable to do the tasks correctly, you won’t get the benefit of strengthening your pelvic region.
Tip: If you’re having trouble finding your pelvic floor muscles, reach out to your provider to figure out the best ways to reduce discomfort.
Pelvic Floor Exercises
Kegels are often referred to as pelvic floor exercises, and they aren’t just for women who give birth, but for women of all ages and life stages. Exercising your pelvic floor will strengthen muscles, control your bladder and bowel better, and potentially alleviate discomfort. Physical therapists specializing in pelvic floor muscle rehabilitation should be able to see if you’re correctly completing Kegels during a pelvic exam.
If you’re looking for other exercises to increase the strength in your muscles, try your hand at pilates. Pilates utilizes both slow and fast movements, and many of the exercises reinforce the muscles surrounding the pelvis.
If you’re starting with pelvic floor muscle exercises, you can begin laying down. As you continue to strengthen your muscles while laying down, attempt to do these exercises in a sitting or standing position as well.
Add this routine to your exercise regiment:
- Start your routine by pulling your pelvic muscles in and upward, hold the squeeze for 3 seconds, then relax for 3 seconds.
- Do these squeezes for 10 to 15 repetitions (up to 3 to 5 times a day)
- Each week, increase your time by 1 second until you are able to hold for 10 seconds.
Remember to relax during your rest periods, and don’t forget to breath throughout your routine!
Tip: Before starting any pelvic floor exercises, consult with your provider on the best ways to engage your pelvic floor to alleviate pain or discomfort.
Pelvic Health and You
Get to know all about your pelvic health when you schedule an appointment with one of our Metro OBGYN providers. You’ll learn about the strength of your pelvic floor and what you can do to improve your pelvic region. Whether you have a PFD or not, strengthening your pelvic area is crucial to your health and well-being.
Suffering with a leaky bladder? Take back control by downloading our free guide and get to know everything about Urinary Incontinence and your pelvic health.