Women often face pelvic floor weakness after childbirth or as a result of aging. Weak pelvic muscles can also be a result of bad posture, poor bowel and bladder behavior, core weakness, and many more. Pelvic muscles provide support to the bowel, bladder, and uterus, so when they weaken, the organs of your body are not supported well and may lower or displace. Which would result in a prolapse. Weak pelvic floor muscles or tight pelvic floor muscles can both cause urine and fecal incontinence. There are 5 Best Pelvic Floor Exercises for Women that can beneficial for women.
The pelvic floor muscles are also crucial for sexual function. If these muscles are healthy and strengthened, women will feel less pelvic pain during intercourse.
While being pregnant, the pelvic floor muscles support the baby and help during the whole pregnancy process. However, the muscles may weaken during pregnancy and childbirth, and commonly lead to leakage or prolapse
Pelvic floor physiotherapy treatment includes checking these muscles and prescribing pelvic floor muscle exercises that specifically target these muscles based on the examination.
There are several benefits of doing pelvic floor exercises, such as:
- Reduces the risk of vaginal & rectal prolapse
- Speeds up recovery after childbirth
- Helps with recovery post pregnancy
- Healthier bladder and bowel behaviour
The exercises can help strengthen women’s health which usually needs attention post-pregnancy. They work on your pelvic organs to provide you relief from pain.
In this blog, we are recommending the 5 best exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. Let’s have a look at them to find a solution to your problem. We recommend that you get examined by a physiotherapist before starting any exercises as they cause more harm than good if done incorrectly. Women with tighter muscles may first need trigger point release and lengthening of muscles before they can start strengthening them.
Kegels is an exercise for contracting and relaxing your pelvic floor muscles. The exercise is named after Arnold Henry Kegel who was an American gynecologist. He invented these exercises as a non-surgical treatment of urinary continence which is caused by perineal muscle weakness. If you are struggling with urine leakage because of not making it to the bathroom on time, then Kegel exercises may be able to help you.
However, don’t forget to see a physiotherapist to determine whether these are a fit for your condition. A lot of times we see patients who have self-prescribed exercises to themselves or their doctor told them in passing to start Kegels if leakage occurs and made their condition worse. Especially for stress incontinence where you leak if you laugh, jump or cough. If you do Kegels on muscles that are already tight, you are making the problem worse.
This blog is a guide to people who have been prescribed these exercises by a trained medical professional and after a physical exam.
Technique to perform Kegels:
- Sit down in a relaxing position. Close your eyes, and think about muscles that can stop urine leakage.
- Tighten those muscles of your body.
- Hold yourself in this position for 3-5 seconds. You should feel as if your muscles are lifting up because of tightening.
- Release the muscles and relax your body.
- Repeat the exercise about 8-10 times.
A strong core can support the pelvic muscles and improve your pelvic health. Research shows that standing up core exercises may be better for women who have been diagnosed with a diastasis recti. Squats engage one of the largest muscles in your body. They can help you with strength improvement. While performing squats, you must ensure to stay firm and tighten your belly.
An important part of this is functional core training which includes how to breathe, what area to tighten and release during which pet of the exercise. We recommend you see your pelvic floor physiotherapist learn the correct form of exercise.
Technique to perform Squats:
- Keep your body in a standing position with your feet hip width apart.
- Bend up to your knees to let your buttocks down towards the floor. Go down as much as you feel comfortable.
- Make sure your back is straight and it should be tilted forward. Keep your knees in line with your toes.
- Tighten your buttocks and pelvic floor when you stand up.
- Repeat the exercise, while doing it 10 times in a set.
- Take some rest and then do another set.
3. Bird Dog
An exercise to work on your abs, back, glutes, and hips, we have Bird Dog. It leads to full-body movement when you engage several muscles of your body at a given time. These muscles include pelvic floor muscles as well. Therefore, Bird Dog is a very beneficial Pelvic Floor exercise for women.
Technique to perform Bird Dog:
- Go on all fours. Keep wrists parallel to your shoulders and knees parallel to your hips. Your back must be straight and your neck in a neutral position.
- Tighten your core and keep your shoulder blades down towards your hips.
- Now, straighten and raise your left leg and then right arm. Keep your pelvis and shoulders neutral. Keep your head straight. Hold the position for 2-3 seconds.
- Bend and lower your leg and arm. Maintain stability in your body and then switch the position by raising your right leg and left arm. This can be called as 1 repetition.
- You can do 10 repetitions and 3 sets of this exercise.
The bridge is also a crucial part of pelvic floor exercises for women. Although it primarily strengthens the core, it is aimed at glutes as well. If the exercise is performed properly, it activates several pelvic floor muscles of your body.
Technique to perform Bridge:
- Lie on your back, then bend your knees. Keep your feet flat on the floor while keeping them some width apart. Keep your arms on their sides with palms facing downwards.
- Tighten your buttocks and pelvic floor muscles, and lift them up.
- Hold the position for 3-5 seconds while maintaining stability.
- Relax your buttocks and pelvic floor muscles, and lower your body to the ground.
- Go back to the starting position. Repeat the exercise for about 10 times.
- Take rest after 10 sets and then perform two more.
5. Split Tabletop
Split Tabletop is a leg exercise that is usually performed in Pilates. When you add the split, you activate your abs, and hips along with pelvic floor muscles.
Technique to perform Split Tabletop
- Lie down on the floor on the support of your back. Keep your knees bent so your thighs are perpendicular to the floor.
- Keep your abs tightened and inner thighs activated with legs touching each other.
- Now, start splitting your legs so your knee falls outward while moving towards a comforting position.
- Then, raise your body and start again.
- You can do 10-15 repetitions and 3 sets of this exercise.
Physiotherapy for Pelvic Floor Muscle Training
Physical therapists can provide proper training on the function of the pelvic floor muscles. They help the patient to understand their pelvic health and help them to exercise these muscles to reduce the risk of symptoms. This encourages the patient to regularly exercise and adopt pelvic floor muscle training in their daily lifestyle. The patients need to constantly practice the exercise and engage the muscles to achieve good results. However, if done wrong or if done by someone who is not a candidate for these exercises, you may make your problem worse.
At Proremedy Physiotherapy, we have the understanding and ability to educate our patients about their health conditions. We advise you on the right exercises that can help you find relief and get into better health. We have Pelvic floor physiotherapists who can guide you to perform the above exercises properly so that you can achieve the maximum results. You can consult our experts to know more about pelvic health physiotherapy services and to get started with proper treatment.