How to strengthen the pelvic floor

The pelvic floor is the set of muscles and ligaments that surround the lower abdominal cavity. They support all pelvic organs (bladder and urethra, uterus and vagina and rectum) and ensure their normal functioning.

The pelvic floor acts as a sort of protective arch where the bladder, uterus and lower bowel sit to cushion any pressure that may be exerted on the area. Exit ducts pass through it to the outside of these bodies.

It is important to keep it in good condition to prevent possible health problems such as urinary incontinence, intestinal prolapse and also to fully enjoy sexuality.

How do I know if I have a weakened pelvic floor?

There are different causes why the pelvic floor tends to weaken. Muscles lose tonus, causing some physical dysfunctions, even mental ones.

The main symptoms that alert us to a weakened pelvic floor are urinary or fecal incontinence, discomfort, lumps, pain and even prolapse of one of Organs pelvic organs.

Why does it usually weaken?

Women tend to be more prone to pelvic floor weakening for physiological reasons. While in women the urethra measures 3 cm, in men it measures 15 cm.

Women are also affected in this area by pregnancy and childbirth, which weaken the perineal muscles due to the weight of the uterus.

It is also weakened by chronic constipation, high-impact sports, obesity, chronic respiratory diseases and smoking or gynecological surgery or aggressive treatments.

pelvic floor, urinary incontinence, postpartum, prolapse, urine, pee, bowel, abdominal cavity, hypopressive exercises, Kegel exercises
pelvic floor illustration

Possible consequences of this muscle weakness

  • Incontinence: It often happens that, in the face of a sudden abdominal effort, such as sneezing, coughing, laughing or jumping, if the muscles are weakened, urine droplets escape or, in the worst case scenario, incontinence.
    This type of incontinence affects four out of ten young and adult women. The picture can get worse if pelvic floor strengthening exercises are not performed, both physically and emotionally, since women stop practicing physical activities or enjoying a full sex life, with the consequent loss of security and self-esteem and even may experience anxiety and depression.
  • prolapses. Organ prolapses in the abdominal region are even more serious disorders that often require surgical intervention. These are the descents of the uterus (uterine prolapse), bladder (cystocele) and rectum (rectocele).
  • sexual dysfunction. Lack of muscle tone in the pelvic floor decreases the blood supply to the area and the strength of contractions. This means that the weight of Organs internal organs is not adequately supported, causing a decrease in the intensity of orgasms, which are not achieved and lead to painful intercourse.

Why is it good to strengthen the pelvic floor?

To avoid these discomforts and health problems, it is essential to strengthen this muscle area, from youth and especially after childbirth.

Exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor

It is possible to perform several techniques and exercises to keep the pelvic floor in good condition and improve possible discomforts and illnesses.

Naturally, we can tone it up with exercises known as Kegels, use accessories such as Chinese balls, among others. that allow to mobilize the muscles, even those that cannot be worked consciously.

pelvic floor, urinary incontinence, postpartum, prolapse, urine, pee, bowel, abdominal cavity, hypopressive exercises, Kegel exercises

kegel exercises

To know which muscles to contract, you can do one of the following tests, without contracting your buttocks, thighs, abdominals or stomach muscles and breathe normally:

  1. Imagine that you are going to leak gas. Squeeze the muscle around the anus (anal sphincter) with all your strength, pulling it inward. To relax.
  2. Imagine that you are going to have a menstrual leak and you are not using a tampon. Squeeze the vagina to retain the flow. To relax.
  3. Imagine that you are urinating. Squeeze as if to stop the flow of urine (urethral sphincter). To relax.
  4. Again, close, squeeze, and forcefully lift all three at the same time. You will be contracting your pelvic floor muscles.
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To perform these exercises, it will be enough to sit on a chair, with your legs comfortably positioned and slightly apart, feet flat on the floor. Also the torso slightly leaning forward with the elbows or forearms resting on the thighs.

The exercises alternate between long and fast contractions in cycles of five repetitions each.

Start by slowly contracting, pulling your pelvic floor muscles as hard as you can, hold for 5 seconds and relax for 10 seconds. Repeat this exercise 5 times.

Then proceed with rapid contractions: contract and lift the muscles quickly and strongly and immediately relax them. Repeat 5 times.

For the exercises to be effective, they must be performed at least 10 times a day. Repetitions can be increased as the muscle area gets stronger.

Improvements will be seen quickly within a month and a half and healthy muscle tone is regained between 4 and 6 months after starting exercise.

Arabic or belly dancing

Practicing this traditional dance, you learn to move and have control of the pelvis in all possible directions, something we don’t usually do in everyday life. It also requires a static attitude of the body and dissociation so that a specific location can be moved in time.

One hour of this dance, once a week, increases the flexibility, strength and coordination of the entire pelvic area.

Accessories

pelvic floor, urinary incontinence, postpartum, prolapse, urine, pee, bowel, abdominal cavity, hypopressive exercises, Kegel exercises
chinese balls

vaginal cones

These cones are inserted into the vagina for a few minutes a day. Gradually your weight is increased to regain tonicity.

They act through the sensation of loss of the cone that is perceived, causing an involuntary contraction reflex in the pelvic muscles to retain it.

The cone is retained for 15 minutes twice a day and improvement occurs within three weeks.

chinese balls

Due to their diameter and light weight, these balls remain inside the vagina without squeezing. With it, not only the pelvic floor can be strengthened, but it can also increase female libido. You can buy them at erotic goods or sex toy stores.

hypopressive gymnastics

In 1984, Dr. Marcel Cuafreez from the University of Brussels has developed a new technique to strengthen the pelvic floor. He saw that the diaphragm, the muscle of breathing and the engine of pressure in the abdomen, is also the muscle of posture.

In certain positions, the diaphragm rises, reducing intra-abdominal pressure and increasing the tone of the pelvic floor and abdominal girdle.

This gymnastics works the involuntary fibers mainly of the pelvic floor. It is static gymnastics consisting of many postures. The first 10 sessions are conducted by a physiotherapist.

Furthermore

  • Regularly include fiber and probiotics in the diet that promote health and intestinal transit
  • Maintain an appropriate weight
  • Maintain good posture, especially when sitting down
  • Do low-impact activities such as abdominal crunches, cycling, swimming, or an elliptical trainer

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