Pelvic floor exercises are one of the first line of treatment methods for stress incontinence or urinary incontinence. These exercises are also recommended for women during their pregnancy.
Pelvic floor exercises are also known as pelvic muscle training or Kegel exercises. Kegel was the name of the obstetrician, who developed these exercises. These exercises help in making the pelvic floor stronger and the person is able to tighten these muscles before the pressure increases on the abdominal muscles. The pelvic muscles are also toned with these exercises, which reduces the risk of incontinence and similar problems at old age. Kegel exercises are also said to be beneficial during childbirth. Learning Kegel exercises can be tricky for a lot of people because they may tend to use the wrong muscles to do these exercises.
Exercises for the Pelvic Muscles
These exercises can be done anywhere and anytime, however it is better to learn the exercise by sitting on the toilet seat. When you do the exercise, make sure your feet are placed flat on the floor, but there is some distance between the feet. While urinating, try to stop the flow of the urine. With this, you will be able to identify the muscles, which are to be used. Similarly you will have to tighten the muscles around your anus, as if you were trying to stop the passage of gas. However, remember not to do this too often, as you can start retaining urine, which can be harmful for your health.
When you start doing these exercises, you should place your hands on your abdomen and buttocks, just to ensure, you do not feel your belly, thighs, or buttocks moving. If you feel any of them moving, then it is an indication that you are using the wrong muscles. It is important to continue breathing when you are doing this exercise. As a matter of fact, you should be able to have a conversation, when you are doing the exercises. Make sure you do not squeeze your legs together or tighten your tummy, thighs, or buttocks. Men and women both, can do these exercises because they are similar for both the sexes. The ways to perform these exercises have been mentioned in the following sections, take a look.
Slow contractions help in strengthening the pelvic floor and also help the muscles to hold back the urine.
- Lift the muscles and count till ten.
- Then tighten the muscles and hold the muscles again for 10 seconds.
- When you first perform the exercise, you will notice, that you may not be able to hold the contraction for more than 3 to 4 seconds.
- At such times, you will have to concentrate on lifting the pelvic muscles and then hold the contractions as long as you can.
- Over a period, you will be able to increase the time of contractions.
- After one cycle, let the muscles rest for about 10 seconds and then repeat the exercise again, for at least 10 times.
This pelvic exercise can be practiced by women during pregnancy. It helps the pelvic floor to cope up with the constant pressure it is subjected to. This exercise works the muscles, which quickly shut off the flow of urine.
- Now that you know which are the muscles to be worked on, lift them quickly.
- Hold the contraction for two seconds.
- Relax the muscles and rest for one second.
- Repeat the contraction again. You will have to repeat this exercise at least 10 times.
These exercises can be repeated for one set of slow contractions and one set of fast contractions about 5 to 6 times a day. To reap benefits from these exercises, you will have to perform them regularly and diligently. It may take as long as 8 to 10 weeks for you to see the effects of your practice. If you do not see any changes, then it is recommended, you talk to your health care professional about the same.