Pelvic floor therapy involves the muscles of the pelvic floor, responsible for a variety of functions. These muscles assist in bowel movement and bladder control and also contribute to sexual arousal and orgasm.
You may be directed towards pelvic floor physical therapy and exercises for the treatment of conditions like incontinence, difficulty with urination or bowel movements, constipation, chronic pelvic pain, and painful intercourse.
Pelvic floor physical therapy exercises involve biofeedback and other exercises that help to relax and strengthen the muscles of the lower pelvis. You can do these exercises at home and experience ease from many ailments.
Benefits of Pelvic Floor Muscles Therapy
Here Are the Benefits of Pelvic Floor Muscles Therapy
1. Helps Strengthen the Body
There have been studies that have correlated pelvic floor health disorders and their impact on sports and related activities. Exercising your pelvic floor is essential in maintaining a strong core, as it is connected to your lower back and abs.
2. Prepares The Body For Pregnancy
Pelvic floor muscles become strained due to the weight gain during pregnancy. Pelvic floor and abdominal muscles weaken, leaving the bladder and lower back with less support, which often leads to other physical problems. Pelvic floor muscles may help reduce the symptoms of back pain in pregnant women and guard against bladder problems as well.
3. Helps Recover After Delivery
A lot of women who have undergone childbirth develop some sort of pelvic organ prolapse, and this is due to poor pelvic floor muscle strength. Performing kegel exercises and strengthening and toning this core muscle after delivering a child, helps you bounce back to good health.
4. Improves Bladder Control
For those who suffer from Stress Incontinence (peeing while laughing or sneezing), and Urge Incontinence (suddenly needing the loo), may benefit from pelvic floor exercises. Doing these exercises may improve muscle tone and strength, which may help Incontinence and prevent prolapse(1).
5. Builds Confidence And Overall Well-being
A lot of women have issues with an accidental leak and choose not to leave the house and do the things they love. Also, after having a baby, a lot of women undergo physical changes, and these unfamiliar or weakened muscles may stop them from feeling confident. Starting from the inside-out, that is by strengthening your pelvic muscles is a good idea.
How Can Pelvic Floor Therapy For Men Help?
Pelvic floor exercises may help men if they have urinary or fecal Incontinence or dribble after urination.
How To Do Pelvic Floor Therapy?
Pelvic floor therapy exercises include
These exercises focus on tightening and holding the muscles that control urine flow. To perform this
- Sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and visualize the muscles that stop urine flow.
- Next, tighten these muscles as much as you can and hold this position for 3-5 seconds.
- At this point, exert squeezing that causes the muscles to lift up.
- Next, release the muscles and rest for several seconds.
Repeat this 10 times.
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2. Squeeze and Release
This exercise consists of a rapid ‘squeeze and release’ movement that builds the ability of the pelvic floor muscles(2) to respond quickly.
To perform this
- Sit in a comfortable position. Visualize the pelvic floor muscles.
- Now, squeeze these as much as possible and release without attempting to sustain a contraction.
- Next, rest for 3-5 seconds.
Repeat this movement 10-20 times, twice a day.
Bridges strengthen the hips and work on the pelvic floor.
To perform a bridge
- Lie on your back, bend your knees, and place your feet flat on the floor hip-width apart.
- Allow your arms to fall to your sides, with your palms facing downwards.
- Next, contract the hips and pelvic floor to lift the hips several inches off the ground. Hold this position for 3-8 seconds. Then, relax the hips and pelvic floor muscles.
- Lower the buttocks to the ground.
Repeat this up to 10 times. Perform 2 additional sets.
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Performing squats regularly can promote a strong pelvic floor and hips.
To perform a squat
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, keeping them flat on the floor.
- Bend your knees to bring your hips towards the floor, going only as low as you can.
- Keep your back straight, and lean slightly forward, keeping your knees in line with your toes.
- Focus on tightening the hips and the pelvic floor, while returning to a standing position.
Do this 10 times, and rest between sets. Wide-legged or deep squats might make it tough to retain a pelvic floor contraction. When strengthening the pelvic floor, narrow and shallow squats may be more helpful.
Pelvic floor therapy at home is possible, provided you have proper guidance on the right ways to perform it.
Exercises to Avoid
Below are some of the exercises to avoid if you have a weak pelvic floor.
- Double leg lifts
- Fast jogging, running, jumping, and other high-impact exercises
- Lifting heavy weights with too few repetitions
- Traditional and oblique sit-ups
- Ball leg raises
While there are no side-effects with regard to pelvic floor therapy, do consult your physiotherapist before attempting to include any new exercises into your routine.
Pelvic floor therapy exercises are very good for helping those with bladder incontinence, as well as other problems. When performed under proper supervision, and in the correct form, pelvic floor therapy may even delay or negate the requirement of surgery to fix pelvic floor problems.
1. How Do I Know If My Pelvic Floor Muscles Are Strong?
Ideally, if you have weak pelvic floor muscles, you might face bladder incontinence, problems during intercourse, and other issues. People with strong pelvic floor muscles seldom experience any/all of these symptoms.
2. Does Walking Help Pelvic Floor?
Walking helps burn calories, yes, but doesn’t specifically target the pelvic floor muscles for strengthening.
3. Can Stress Cause Pelvic Floor?
Stress and anxiety cause pelvic floor pain and the latter also contribute to increased stress. So, pelvic floor pain and stress are a vicious cycle.