How you ever wondered what supports your bladder, uterus and other organs in your lower abdomen? Along with the muscles in your abdomen, your pelvic floor actively works to keep what needs to be kept inside, inside by preventing uterus, bowel and bladder prolapse as well as preventing incontinence. As you age, have children or regularly lift heavy objects your pelvic floor muscles become weakened. Pelvic floor exercises work to strengthen these muscles to prevent undesirable symptoms.
Pelvic Floor Muscle Identification
Before delving into a pelvic floor exercise, you must first know what muscles to work. Anatomically speaking, these muscles are found along the bottommost portion of your pelvis and are connected from the tail bone to your pubic bone. Find this muscle group by stopping the flow of urine while using the restroom. The muscles you feel tighten as you constrict urine flow are your pelvic muscles. Close your eyes and focus on the sensation and location of these muscles. Once you’ve identified the pelvic floor, move onto the exercise.
Commonly referred to as the Kegel, this pelvic floor exercise works to strengthen these muscles, and it may be performed sitting, standing or lying down. Therefore, you may perform this pelvic floor exercise at home, in the car or at your desk while reading countless emails. Begin by relaxing your body, specifically the muscles in your lower body. Focus on locating your pelvic floor muscles. Once located, squeeze these muscles in the same manner as you did when stopping urine flow. Hold this contraction for five seconds. Release the muscles for five seconds and repeat five times. For help, the Continence Foundation of Australia suggests squeezing these muscles the same way you would to secure a tampon up into your vagina. Another tip, imagine you’re holding in flatulence. Repeat this exercise daily, and as these muscles become stronger, increase contraction time to 10 seconds.
While pelvic floor exercises aren’t the most complicated exercises, nearly 50 percent of women do them incorrectly. As with other exercises, if done incorrectly you could worsen problems. Therefore, if you’re unsure whether you’re doing Kegels correctly, visit your physician and have him guide you through proper pelvic floor exercise contraction. In some cases, your physician may insert a small electronic probe into your rectum or vagina. This probe offers biofeedback, which displays contraction activity on a monitor to ensure you’re performing the exercise correctly.
Unfortunately, pelvic floor exercises may not solve all problems. If you feel pain in your bladder, heaviness in your vagina or if you regularly leak fecal matter or urine, immediately visit your physician. Since these symptoms aren't necessarily tied to weak pelvic floor muscles, your doctor should examine this region to determine what is truly causing these signs and symptoms.
Jonathan McLelland has been a professional writer since 2005. He has worked as a story writer and editor for the international sitcom, “Completing Kaden,” as well as a proposal writer for various production companies. McLelland studied communication and theater at St. Louis Community College.