Pelvic Floor Exercises – Dos and Don’ts | ASTROGLIDE


By Dr. Soniya

Taking care of your pelvic floor is essential for maintaining good bladder and bowel control.

Taking care of your pelvic floor is essential for maintaining good bladder and bowel control, supporting your pelvic organs, preventing pelvic pain, and, of course, overall sexual wellness. Pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegel exercises, are a crucial component of pelvic health for women and men. Per a 2022 study released via Nature’s Scientific Reports journalstatistics show that 32% of women will have at least one pelvic floor disorder in their lifetime, while a 2023 study released through the National Library of Medicine showed that 16% of men have also been identified with pelvic floor disorders. Kegel exercises target the muscles of the pelvic floor, which support the bladder, uterus, and bowel. By strengthening these muscles, people can improve bladder control, support pelvic organs, and reduce the risk of pelvic floor disorders such as urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. Much like we strengthen our muscles and endurance in a workout, doing Kegels is a great way to keep your pelvic floor strong. To perform pelvic floor exercises, you simply contract and relax the muscles of the pelvic floor. These contractions should be held for a few seconds before releasing and then repeated multiple times in a row.

Weak pelvic floor muscles can lead to urinary incontinence

The Benefits of Pelvic Floor Exercises

Improved Bladder Control

Weak pelvic floor muscles can lead to urinary incontinence, which is the unintentional leakage of urine. By strengthening these muscles, people can regain control over their bladder function and reduce or eliminate episodes of urinary leakage.

Prevention of Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when the pelvic organs, such as the bladder, uterus, or bowel, bulge into the vaginal space due to weak pelvic floor muscles. Pelvic floor exercises can help support these organs and reduce the risk of prolapse or alleviate symptoms in people already experiencing prolapse.

Enhanced Sexual Function

Strong pelvic floor muscles can lead to improved sexual function and sensation. These muscles play a crucial role in sexual arousal, orgasm, and vaginal tightness. By strengthening the pelvic floor, people may experience increased pleasure and satisfaction during sexual activity.

Support During Pregnancy and Postpartum

Pregnancy and childbirth can weaken the pelvic floor muscles, leading to issues such as urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. Performing pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy can help prepare the muscles for childbirth and reduce the risk of complications postpartum.

Management of Pelvic Pain

Some people experience pelvic pain due to conditions such as pelvic floor dysfunction or muscle tension. Pelvic floor exercises, along with other treatment modalities, can help alleviate pelvic pain by improving muscle strength and relaxation. Pelvic floor exercises are a popular way to strengthen pelvic muscles, but it’s important to know the dos and don’ts of pelvic floor exercises to ensure you’re practicing them correctly and safely.

people experience pelvic pain due to conditions such as pelvic floor dysfunction

The Dos

Learn How to Perform Kegels Correctly

It’s essential to ensure you’re performing Kegels correctly to reap their benefits fully. If you’re unsure whether you’re engaging the correct muscles or performing the exercises properly, don’t hesitate to seek guidance. Your doctor or a pelvic floor physical therapist can provide personalized instruction and feedback to help you master the technique. To perform a Kegel: Start by identifying the muscles of your pelvic floor. You can do this by imagining you’re trying to stop the flow of urine or prevent passing gas. Once you’ve located these muscles, squeeze them tightly, holding the contraction for a few seconds before releasing. Aim to complete three sets of 10 repetitions each day to strengthen your pelvic floor over time.

Start Slowly

If you’re new to pelvic floor exercises, start slowly. Begin by practicing gentle contractions, holding each for just a few seconds. As you become more comfortable, gradually increase both the intensity and duration of your workouts. Gradual progression allows our muscles to adapt and strengthen effectively without causing undue strain or fatigue. Overdoing it from the start can lead to muscle discomfort and potential setbacks in progress. Remember to listen to your body and respect its limits. By starting slowly and building up gradually, you’ll set yourself up for long-term success in improving pelvic floor strength and function.

Incorporate Pelvic Floor Exercises into Your Daily Routine

Consistency is crucial for success with pelvic floor exercises. By making pelvic floor exercises a natural part of your daily activities, you’ll ensure that you’re consistently working toward strengthening these important muscles. Remember, the more consistent you are, the better results you’ll achieve over time. To make them a regular habit. Integrate them into your daily schedule by choose a specific time each day, whether it’s during your morning routine or before bed, to perform your exercises, look for opportunities to sneak in Kegels throughout the day, like while watching TV, sitting at your desk, or waiting in line.

Combine Kegels with Other Types of Exercise

While Kegel exercises are incredibly beneficial for pelvic floor strength, it’s essential to diversify your workout routine to support overall pelvic health. Incorporating 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days can provide additional benefits beyond Kegels alone. By combining Kegels with other types of exercise, you can enhance circulation, flexibility, and muscle tone throughout the pelvic region, reducing the risk of pelvic floor disorders and promoting optimal pelvic health. To incorporate more pelvic health-friendly workouts into your exercise routine, consider walking helps promote circulation throughout the body, including the pelvic region, which can support healthy pelvic floor function. Swimming is a low-impact exercise that engages multiple muscle groups, including those in the pelvic floor, while also improving cardiovascular health and promoting relaxation. Yoga, with its focus on flexibility, strength, and breath control, can be particularly beneficial for core and pelvic health. Many yoga poses specifically target the pelvic floor muscles, helping to improve muscle tone and flexibility while reducing tension and stress.

Listen to Your Body

Pay attention to how your body feels during and after pelvic floor exercises. It’s normal to experience some fatigue or mild discomfort in the pelvic area, especially when you’re just starting out or increasing the intensity of your exercises. If you notice any pain or worsening of symptoms during or after your workout, it’s essential to stop and listen to what your body is telling you. Ignoring pain or discomfort can potentially worsen your condition and lead to complications. Pause, and take a moment to rest and assess how you’re feeling, If the discomfort persists or if you’re unsure whether you’re performing the exercises correctly, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor for guidance.

Pelvic floor exercises are a popular way to strengthen pelvic muscles

The Don’ts

Don’t Bear Down or Strain

When doing Kegels, it’s important to avoid bearing down or straining your muscles, as this can put excessive pressure on the pelvic floor muscles and lead to further issues. Instead, focus on gently lifting and engaging the muscles from the inside out. If you find yourself holding your breath or tensing other muscles, relax and try again.

Don’t Overdo It

While consistency is essential, it’s also important not to overdo it with pelvic floor exercises. Doing too many Kegels or holding the contractions for too long can lead to muscle fatigue and potential strain. Stick to the guidelines of three sets of 10 repetitions each day and give your muscles time to rest and recover between sessions. Dig into a couple of our favorite resources from Mayo Clinic for additional help, including:

Kegel exercises: A how-to guide for women

Kegel exercises for men: Understand the benefits

Don’t Expect Overnight Results

Like any form of exercise, pelvic floor exercises take time and patience to see results. You may not notice a significant improvement right away, but with consistent practice, you should start to see improvements in bladder control, pelvic support, and overall muscle strength over time. Be patient with yourself and trust the process.

Don’t Forget to Relax

Besides making your pelvic floor muscles stronger, it’s also important to know how to relax them. If your pelvic floor muscles are always tight, it could lead to pelvic pain and other problems. Relaxation techniques release tension and help your muscles perform better, so make sure to include relaxation techniques in your routine to keep your pelvic area healthy and free from pain. Besides exercises that strengthen your pelvic floor, incorporate some relaxation techniques like, deep breathing, gentle stretching, specific exercises, like these from the National Association for Continenceto relax your pelvic floor muscles.

Don’t Ignore Warning Signs

When you perform pelvic floor exercises, it’s important to pay attention to any signs your body gives you. If you feel pain, discomfort, or anything unusual during or after your exercises, don’t ignore it. These signs might mean you’re doing the exercises wrong or that there’s a problem you need to address. It’s better to be safe and talk to your doctor if you’re worried about anything. Your doctor can check what’s going on, give you advice about pelvic floor exercises, and see if there’s a problem that needs fixing. They might suggest changes to your exercise routine or other treatments to help you feel better and keep your pelvic area healthy. Your health is the most important thing. If you have any worries or notice anything strange while doing pelvic floor exercises, don’t hesitate to get help.

Pelvic floor exercises are an important part of maintaining pelvic health and preventing pelvic pain. By following these dos and don’ts, you can ensure that you’re doing Kegels correctly and safely. Remember to start slowly, be consistent, listen to your body, and seek help if you have any questions or concerns. Your pelvic floor will thank you for it!


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