Like all muscles, the pelvic floor muscles need exercise to work well. Pelvic floor exercises help maintain the strength of the muscles and avoid various problems.
What is the Pelvic Floor?
The pelvic floor is composed of a thin sheet of muscle fibers and associated connective tissue. It spans the area underneath the pelvis between the pubic bone and tail bone. The pelvic floor muscles contract when you cough, sneeze or strain, helping to prevent the involuntary leakage of urine. They also have many other functions which you can read in more detail here. A weakness of the pelvic floor muscles may cause or worsen a number of problems. These could include urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse or a loss in sexual sensation.
How do Pelvic Floor Exercises Help?
Intensive and regular pelvic floor exercises help by both strengthening and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles so they become firm and supportive. Many women will have a major improvement in muscle strength by learning effective pelvic floor exercises.
How to do Pelvic Floor Exercises
It is important to learn to do the exercises in the right way. You should also check from time to time that you are still doing them correctly.
1. Sit comfortably with your feet and knees wide apart. Lean forward and place your elbows on your knees. Remember to keep breathing throughout and keep your stomach, leg and buttock muscles relaxed.
2. Imagine that you are trying to stop yourself passing gas from the bowel. At the same time, try to stop the flow of urine from the bladder. You should feel a lifting and tightening around the vagina and anus.
3. Observing the muscles can be an effective way of checking they are working correctly. Lie propped on the bed. Place a small mirror between your legs with your knees bent and apart. As you pull up the pelvic floor you should see your anus and entrance to the vagina lifting and drawing in.
You may not feel your bladder control improve until after 3 to 6 weeks. However, it may take up to 6 months to have improvement. DON’T GIVE UP!! It is important to maintain the strength of the muscles once you have completed an exercise programme. Try to incorporate these exercises into daily life activities.
Contact Mr de Rosnay
Mr Philippe de Rosnay is a Consultant Gynaecologist in London. He is also a Laparoscopic (‘key-hole’) Surgeon and Obstetrician at Chelsea & Westminster NHS Foundation Trust, based at the West Middlesex Hospital site. He believes in delivering high quality, patient-centred care in a professional and personalised manner.
If you would like to contact Mr Philippe de Rosnay or make an appointment, please contact us.