Have you heard of the pelvic floor?
The pelvic floor includes a group of muscles and ligaments that
form a “floor like” structure that supports key organs. These
include the bladder and bowels (and uterus for women).
A strong pelvic floor is important for preventing issues like
urinary incontinence for men and women (the involuntary
loss of control of urine) and pelvic organ prolapse.
Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when the muscles and tissues
supporting the organs (i.e. the pelvic floor) weaken. This can be
caused by various issues including childbirth, aging, chronic
cough, hormonal changes such as menopause, excessive
straining due to constipation, constant lifting of heavy objects, obesity and pregnancy.
How To Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor Muscles
All men and women should regularly exercise the pelvic floor muscles. It is highly recommended that
women do pelvic floor exercises daily to prevent weakness and, if needed, to improve the strength of
the pelvic floor muscles.
As with any muscle, consistently performing the right exercises always helps. Gentle exercises (like
walking regularly) can also help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.
Identifying and Engaging The Right Muscles
Step one = Identify the right muscles
In order to identify where your pelvic floor muscles are, you want to
tighten your muscles in that area. Identifying the muscles correctly is
the first step towards muscle engagement and increased control.
Step two = Learn to engage (contract) the pelvic floor muscles
Contracting the muscles is not difficult, but you want to be sure you
are doing it correctly.
Begin by contracting the muscle upward and inward. The best way to
think about this is – imagine you are going to the bathroom. You want
to stop yourself midway (or midstream) by actively contracting your
pelvic floor muscles. But don’t do these as an exercise when you are
actively using the restroom.
Step three = Pace yourself
You need to train your pelvic floor muscles just as you would any
other muscle group, through repetition.
If you have any questions, please get in touch with one of our skilled physical therapists and we will be happy to steer you in the right direction!