Exercising Your Pelvic Muscles
Life's events can weaken pelvic muscles. Pregnancy, childbirth, and being overweight can do it. Fortunately, pelvic floor muscles are just like other muscles - exercises can make them stronger. The medical team at Atlantic Urogynecology Associates teaches women with bladder control problems to regain control through pelvic muscle exercises, also called Kegel exercises.
Which are the right muscles?
The part of your body that includes your hip bones is the pelvic area. At the bottom of the pelvis, several layers of muscle stretch between your legs. The muscles attach to the front, back, and sides of the pelvic bones. Two pelvic muscles do most of the work. The biggest one stretches like a hammock. The other is shaped like a triangle.
During your pelvic exam, your doctor or nurse placed two fingers in your vagina and a hand on your abdomen. Then your doctor or nurse asked you to contract the muscles of your vagina around her fingers as if you were stopping the flow of urine. These are the muscles you will exercise.
How to exercise pelvic muscles:
You can exercise almost anywhere - while driving in a car, at your desk, watching TV - and at any time - morning, noon or night. Just pull in the pelvic muscles and hold for about 10 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds. Do three to four sets of 10 contractions per day.
Be patient. Your goal is to improve muscle tone, and just as it takes time to improve muscle tone in your arms, legs, or abdomen, it takes time to tone the pelvic muscles. You may not feel your bladder control improve until after six to eight weeks. Still, most women notice an improvement after a few weeks.
Points to remember:
- Weak pelvic muscles often cause bladder control problems.
- Daily exercises can strengthen pelvic muscles.
- These exercises often improve bladder control.
- Ask your doctor or nurse if you are squeezing the right muscles.
- Tighten your pelvic muscle before sneezing, lifting, or jumping. This can prevent pelvic muscle damage.
Daily pelvic muscle exercise log:
- I exercised my pelvic muscles _______ times daily.
- I spent _____ minutes exercising.
- At each exercise session, I contracted my pelvic muscles _____ times.
If the exercises are a success, continue to do them, just like any other exercises.