With pelvic floor dysfunction affecting more than 40% of women, it’s surprising most people don’t know more about how to strengthen their pelvic floor muscles. And it’s not just women, studies show that pelvic floor dysfunction also effects men. The pelvic floor muscles can become weak due to aging, hormonal changes, pregnancy, vaginal delivery, injury, surgery, or illness such as a chronic cough. Without control of the pelvic floor muscles you might suffer from incontinence, or difficulty controlling urine flow.
Pelvic Floor Basics
The pelvic floor is made up of a group of muscles that create a sling that supports the pelvic organs such as the bladder and uterus and hold them in place. These muscles also control opening and closing of the urethra, which carries urine out of the body from the bladder. In cases of pelvic floor dysfunction, the urethra may not be able to control urine from leaking. Stress incontinence is when urine leaks when you put pressure on the bladder, such as lifting something heavy, coughing, laughing, jumping or even getting out of a chair. The pelvic floor muscles are also important to control the urge to urinate. Having strong pelvic floor muscles can help solve problems associated the urge incontinence, which is the sudden urge to run to the bathroom.
Taking Control Over Pelvic Floor Dysfunction and Weakness
Kegels are exercises that help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, helping to hold the organs in place and control urine flow. The basics are:
1. Contract your muscles as if you are stopping the flow of urine. Also you might try to do this while you are on the toilet to figure out which muscles you want to use, do not do this as an exercise as it might cause other problems.
2. Tighten your muscles as if you are trying not to pass gas. Tighten only the anus, not the buttocks.
Slowly build a contraction, and work up to holding the contraction for 5 seconds. Completely relax between each contraction. Remember that you are working on controlling your muscles. Overly tight muscles will not solve your problems.
If you continue to have symptoms, or have trouble finding the muscles to contract, don’t feel bad. The exercises are simple, but they are not necessarily easy to perform. Don’t feel bad, studies show that 50% of women who were given verbal and/or written instructions do them incorrectly. Doing the exercises incorrectly won’t improve your pelvic floor dysfunction, and delaying treatment may actually make things worse. Call us at 888-713-2220 to see if you are a candidate for one of our programs.