What are the pelvic floor muscles?
The pelvic floor muscles sit at the bottom of the pelvis and support the bladder and bowel, and uterus (womb) in women. When you contract the pelvic floor muscles, they lift the internal organs and tighten the openings, thus giving you the ability to control the release of urine, faeces and wind.
When the pelvic floor muscles are weakened, they can lead to problems with bladder and bowel control. Many factors can weaken these muscles in men and women, including prolonged sitting, surgery, aging, pregnancy, childbirth and excessive weight.
Symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction include:
- Frequent urge to urinate or painful urination
- Urinary leakage
- Urinary incontinence
- Constipation, difficulties with bowel movements, or bowel leakage
- Difficulty emptying the bladder
- Pain in the pelvic region or genitals
- Pelvic muscle spasms
How can I strengthen my pelvic floor muscles?
Like any muscle in the body, pelvic floor muscles can be strengthened and trained with regular, targeted exercise.
Pelvic floor muscle exercises can help with:
- Improving bladder and bowel control
- Reducing the risk of prolapse (in women)
- Improving recovery after childbirth and surgery (in women)
- Improving recovery after prostate surgery (in men)
- Increased social confidence and quality of life
Kegel exercises are one of the best natural ways to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles to prevent or improve control of urinary incontinence and other bladder or bowel problems.
The great thing about these exercises is that no equipment is required and they can be performed at anytime throughout the day, even during pregnancy or after childbirth.
How to do Kegel exercises:
Find the right muscles - One of the simplest ways to identify your pelvic floor muscles is to stop urination in midstream. You should feel a pulling sensation around your rectum and anus. For women, you can also focus on lifting the muscles around the vagina. The most effective contraction engages the muscles simultaneously that would stop urination and gas.
Once you’ve identified your pelvic floor muscles, you can do the exercises in any position, although you might find it easier to practice lying down at first.
Perfect your technique - Pull in and squeeze your pelvic floor muscles. Hold the squeeze for 5-10 seconds, then rest for 5 seconds. Make sure to breathe freely during the exercise. Aim for at least 3 sets of 10 repetitions, 3 times a day.
If you or a loved one is experiencing accidents from bladder or bowel problems, Caring Clothing’s extensive range of incontinence aids covers all areas of daily life: clothing, bedding, chairs, floor equipment, underwear and swimwear. We aim to help you manage your condition with dignity and the best incontinence products available.
The extensive incontinence aids range at Caring Clothing covers all areas of daily life: bedding, chairs & floor equipment, underwear and swimwear. We will help you manage your condition with dignity and the best incontinence products available.