Women's Health, Physio, Pelvic Floor

Pelvic Floor Muscle Training

Pelvic floor muscles are very important as they:

  • Control the bladder and bowel
  • Support the pelvic organs and thus help prevent prolapse
  • Are important for sexual function
  • Support the growing uterus when pregnant
  • Work with core muscles to support the spine

Where are they?

 

  • They attach to the pubic bone at the front and tail bone at the back and to the side of the pelvic walls.
  • They are the only horizontal muscle in your body and often described as a hammock that supports the pelvic organs.

 

What can weaken the Pelvic floor?

  • Regular straining to empty the bowel
  • Constant coughing
  • Weight of baby and hormones during pregnancy
  • Muscle damage and interventions used during birth
  • Work involving regular heavy lifting
  • Excessive abdominal workouts or over challenging exercise
  • Pelvic organ prolapse
  • Hysterectomy and some pelvic surgery.

Pelvic floor muscles cause problems when they are….

 

  • Weak and not strong enough to lift when you run or sneeze
  • Tight and cannot relax  
  • Over powered by excessive tightness in trunk and waist muscles
  • 1 in 3 women experience incontinence after labor due to pelvic floor dysfunction.

 

Benefits of Pelvic Floor Exercises:

  • Restoration of vaginal muscle tone and vaginal health
  • Recover from physical stress of childbirth
  • Prevention and treatment of stress urinary incontinence.
  • Strengthen the pelvic floor muscles
  • Increase blood supply and nerve supply to the pelvic region
  • Increases sexual stimulation and feeling

Exercises to strengthen your Pelvic Floor

It is important for all women before and after birth whether they have a vaginal or cesarean delivery to strengthen their pelvic floor muscles.

Pelvic Floor Relaxation

It is very important to ensure your pelvic floor muscles are relaxed before you start strengthening them.

  • Lie on you back with a pillow under your knees or on your side with a pillow between your knees.
  • Place your hands on the lower part of your tummy
  • Breathe into your tummy slowly and ensure your tummy stays soft
  • Hold for 3 seconds at the end of the breath and feel your Pelvic floor release
  • Repeat 4-5 times

 

  1. Long Hold:
  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet supported but apart.
  • Squeeze and lift around all 3 openings in your pelvic 
floor. These being your back passage vagina and bladder. Like you are 
trying to stop yourself passing wind and urine.
  • Hold for 6-10 seconds, keep your abdominal, buttock and 
thigh muscles relaxed and continue to breathe 
normally.
  • Relax for 3 seconds.
  • Repeat this exercise another 5 times
  • Repeat 3 times a day.
  • As your pelvic floor muscles get stronger, practice in 
sitting and standing.
  • Gradually increase the hold time and number of repetitions until you can do a 10 second hold 10 times.

Remember…Always stop exercising when the muscle fatigues.

  1. Quick holds
  • Tighten the pelvic floor muscles as above but only hold for a second before letting go fully.
  • Repeat 5 times in a row.
  • Repeat 3 times a day.
  • Gradually increase your repetitions until you can do 20 
quick squeezes in a row, it may take a few months to be able to do this.

How can PH help?

Book appointment with our women’s health physiotherapist Mary-Kate to get a thorough pelvic floor assessment and specifically tailored exercise programme.

01 496 4002     info@personalhealth.ie