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The pelvic floor

22, September | No comments
The pelvic floor

Pelvic floor is defined as a collection of muscles and ligaments, whose main functions are to support pelvic floor organs (uterus, vagina, urethra and rectum), assist in urinary and fecal continence and it has a great importance in sexual intercourses as orgasms. Another function is in take part in fetus progression during birth.

 

Why should we exercise our pelvic floor?

 

As the years go by, it is important to exercise our pelvic floor muscles since a weak pelvic floor can cause prolapse  (when the muscles can no longer support the pelvic organs), urinary incontinence, sexual dysfunction or backache.

 

Risk factors that weaken the pelvic floor

 

- Impact sports: Some sports such as tennis, basketball, footing…

- Pregnancy and birth: the body experiment some changes, especially at the time of childbirth. The muscles lose their properties regarding strength and toning.

- Those women who have had a baby.

- Women with menopause. 

- Women who have a history of gynecological surgery.

- Prostate issues: Due to some illness, the storage capacity for the urine decreases, so that pelvic floor gets weak and cause urinary incontinence.

- Over working pelvic muscles or not working them at all.

- Heavy lifting at work or the gym.

Other risk factors such as back pain, ongoing constipation, growing older, overweight or a chronic cough or sneeze can weaken the pelvic floor.

 

There are common signs, which can indicate a pelvic problem, such as:

 

- Accidentally leaking urine while you are coughing, sneezing, laughing or exercising.

- Continuous needing to go to the toilet, or feeling a need to go to the toilet but not actually needing to go.

- Having difficulties to empty your bladder or bowel.

- Losing control of your bowel or bladder.

- Painful sex or pain in your pelvic area.

If you experience pelvic floor problems it is wise to check with your doctor to look for the best treatment.

 

These are the benefits you can achieve exercising your pelvic floor

 

They improve bladder and bowel control and increase quality of life

In women:

- Pregnancy: pelvic floor exercises are quite recommended as they are related with a better recovery after giving birth. These exercises can include biofeedback system, but do not include electro stimulators, because of uterine contraction risk.

- Improvements in sexual life: they increase orgasms, especially in those women who suffer from urinary incontinence.

- Exercises reduce the prolapsed risk, urinary incontinence and improve recovery from gynecological surgery.

In men, pelvic floor exercises improve recovery after prostate surgery.

 

Identify the muscles

 

Before exercising your pelvic floor, it is essential to identify your pelvic floor muscles correctly.

1. Try to stop the flow of urine over the toilet. Notice the muscles you are using; these are the pelvic floor muscles.

2. Use a hand mirror in order to see the muscles.

3. Introduce a finger and squeeze; you will exercise the muscles which are tighten.

 

Exercises

 

Once you have identified your pelvic floor muscles you can exercise them.

-Squeeze the muscles and keep during 5 seconds. Relax 5 seconds and repeat the exercise 10 times.

-Another way to exercise the pelvic muscles is introducing a finger in the vagina (women) or rectum (men) and squeezing the muscles.

-Some people like exercising their muscles with devices such as pelvic floor balls or cones. 

These exercises should be done progressively in order to strength the muscles and avoid leaking urine.

 

Common myths about pelvic floor exercises

 

Some people think pelvic floor exercises are easy to do. But they are not always easy as these muscles are not easy to find.

Learning pelvic floor exercises from a pamphlet is not always the best option due to you could get the technique wrong.

“Pelvic floor exercises don´t work”; they are effective for some type of incontinence. Nevertheless, the will not work with diseases such as infections or inflammations. They will be effective if the exercises are done properly. If they are not, get help from a professional to check if you are doing them correctly.

As we said earlier, stopping the flow of urine over the toilet will help you to find the pelvic floor muscles. However, in spite of the fact that some people think it, this is not an exercise.

If you have had a baby, do not think the damage is done. Postnatal pelvic floor exercises help in the recovery of pelvic floor function and they can avoid suffering from urinary incontinence.

Some people say they are too old for pelvic floor exercises but they have nothing to do with age. Older people can benefit from pelvic floor exercises like younger people.

Do not think you cannot do the exercises because you cannot sit on the floor due to these exercises can be done in any position. If you cannot sit on the floor, you can do them standing up.

Pelvic floor is not just a women issue. Men have pelvic floor muscles as well. Men can improve bladder control exercising their pelvic muscles.

 

 

The purpose of this post is purely informative. It does not replace a medical consultation.

 

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