How to Keep Your Pelvic Floor Strong
Your pelvic floor is a collection of ligaments and muscle tissue that connects your pubic bone to the base of your spine. Your pelvic floor supports your bladder, uterus, and anus, and it acts as an elastic sling below each one.
While some may compare the pelvic floor to a trampoline, it often loses its elasticity over time, or due to certain causes. In the blog below, we discuss how your pelvic floor can loosen, problems associated with this loosening, and ways you can strengthen your pelvic floor.
Causes of Pelvic Loosening
Loss of elasticity in your pelvic floor muscles represents muscle weakness. Like any muscle tissue, your pelvic floor will atrophy if not taken care of and regularly exercised. Below are some causes behind pelvic floor muscle weakness:
- Pregnancy, as it adds a high amount of prolonged weight and pressure
- Childbirth, especially if pushing was prolonged in delivery
- Persistent and heavy lifting with poor technique
- Post-menopausal hormonal changes
- Excessive body weight
- Prolonged and heavy coughing
- Constipation or persistent straining to have bowel movements
Additionally, your pelvic floor may loosen over time. Women at some time or another experience one or more of the above causes. As a result, having an over-stretched pelvic floor is not uncommon. Although the weakening of pelvic floor muscle has a range of severity, many women deal with several uncomfortable and inconvenient secondary problems as a result.
Problems With a Weakened Pelvic Floor
Because your pelvic floor supports so many important organs, it affects the day-to-day function of your life. Below are some problems that result from an over-stretched (or weakened) pelvic floor:
- Difficulty keeping sphincters closed, resulting in poor bowel control
- Stress incontinence during a cough, sneeze, or other exertion
- Less sensitive and toned vaginal muscles, resulting in decreased sexual satisfaction
- Loss of control in preventing or holding in gas
None of these symptoms are pleasant, and when left untreated, often become more serious. In addition, if your vaginal and pelvic muscles weaken enough, your bowel, bladder, and uterus can pull down, causing additional pelvic pain.
Ways to Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor
To prevent the undesirable results listed above, you should keep your pelvic floor toned and healthy. Like any other group of muscles, your pelvic floor requires regular exercise to get strong. There are several easy ways to strengthen your pelvic floor, including at-home exercises and natural remedies.
You can perform this exercise in a sitting or standing position, as long as you maintain proper posture. It can also be done lying on your back with your knees slightly bent, or also in a kneeling position on your hands and knees.
To identify the proper group of muscles, close your eyes and tighten the muscles that you would to hold urine or avoid passing gas. The muscles should feel distinct from your leg, buttock, and stomach muscles. After you’re sure of which muscles to tighten, follow the steps below:
- Tighten the group of muscles incrementally around your front passage, vagina, and back passage, holding for 3 – 5 seconds. You may also hold the position for up to 8 seconds.
- Release each group one by one, making sure to feel a definite reprieve.
Repeat these steps up to 10 times with 2 – 3 seconds of rest between each set.
You can also use this slightly more complex exercise to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles:
- Squeeze and lift your pelvic floor muscles in a quick, short burst. Don’t hold them—just squeeze and release.
- Rest for 2 – 3 seconds.
- Repeat the above steps 10 – 20 times, or until your pelvic floor muscles feel tired.
You can do both exercises up to three times per day. If your pelvic floor feels fatigued beforehand, perform the exercises once or twice a day.
If you practice these exercises and continue to experience pelvic pain, a natural remedy might be the answer. Acupuncture, herbal formulas, and supervised therapies may provide a solution. To find out more about natural remedies, consult with your local acupuncturist or a natural medicine physician.
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