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
2 Simple 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.
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.
2. 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 Personal Health help?
Book an appointment with our Women’s Health Chartered Physiotherapist Mary-Kate Ryan to get a thorough pelvic floor assessment and specifically tailored exercise programme.
Please book an appointment online or Call 01 4964002