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July Blog Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles!

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running tap







I wasn’t sure what image to use for this blog (!) so have gone for an esoteric image…

So where is your pelvic floor and what is its job?

Your pelvic floor is a muscle which extends from your tail bone (coccyx) at the back of your pelvis to your pubic bone at the front of your pelvis. Its job is to control what comes out of your bladder and bowel. This muscle like all other muscles if ignored or unattended will weaken and will not do what it is designed to do properly i.e. prevent leakage from your bladder and bowel.

This is not good.

It is not ‘one of those things’ that should be accepted. In most cases the problem can be improved or at worst prevented from deteriorating, if you know what to do.

This is good.

It’s never any easy subject to discuss because it is such a personal area of our bodies. This can prevent people from seeking advice until it really is a problem. At this point it can have had a major impact on your psychological state, general health and wellbeing.

Adverts I have seen only seem to reinforce a supposed myth that your pelvic floor leaking is just something that happens. Companies promote the fact that all you need to do if you leak, is buy their sanitary products which will hide the problem.  THIS IS NOT THE SOLUTION. Hiding the problem will only make the matter worse which over time can reach a point where there is no way you can hide the problem.

This is not good.

How does your pelvic floor work and how can you make it work better?

Firstly it has a background function which in effect is a low effort squeeze occurring all the time, even when you sleep. This is called a slow twitch contraction.

To improve this function sit and squeeze your pelvic floor by imagining you are trying to stop yourself from going to the loo. See how long you can hold the squeeze by counting slowly and then let go. You are aiming for a slow count to 10. If you can only reach a count of two for example, repeatedly squeeze for a count of 2 throughout the day. In time as the muscle strengthens you will increase how long you can hold the squeeze.

Secondly it squeezes with greater force when you laugh, sneeze, jump, stand up and so on, to hold in what should be kept held in. This is a fast twitch contraction which is the function that lets us down most commonly.

To improve this function squeeze strongly for a second and then relax. Keep repeating for a count of 10 or to the number where you still have full control and full awareness of squeezing then letting go.This will improve with practice.

You need to squeeze your pelvic floor NOT by squeezing your knees together, tightening your thighs or your buttocks (although I would always encourage a spot of buttock squeezing for the sake of buttock squeezing because of the benefits this brings to your core stability! But I digress) or by pulling in your tummy, although your tum might squeeze with your pelvic floor and that’s ok.

Essentially, unless you are squeezing your pelvic floor, you’re not squeezing your pelvic floor. Strange but true. Keep doing both types of exercises little and often through the day giving yourself a 4 second rest in between each set you do.

This is good.

If you can’t tell whether you are actually squeezing the right muscles and are having problems with leaking from your bladder or bowel then I strongly advise you contact your GP and ask for a referral to a physiotherapist who specialises in incontinence and pelvic dysfunction. Of course feel free to contact me for further information or advice. Always happy to help even on the not so easy to talk about subjects.

Go forth and squeeze; your pelvic floor needs you!!

| 5 comments | in Pelvic floor, Pelvic floor exercises, Stress incontinence

5 Responses to July Blog Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles!

  1. elizabeth hector says:

    Just the exercises I need.

    many thanks


    • Rachel Kili says:

      Hello Elizabeth, I am so glad that my blog was of help. I am sorry I have not replied sooner, I have been away on holiday.
      Keep up the squeezing!!

  2. Karen Hunt says:

    Thank you for your useful advice. I had surgery at the Shrewsbury Nuffield a year ago for prolapse and looking for suitable exercise classes run by physiotherapists rather than the usually health and fitness classes at sports clubs and hotels. Do you run these classes or have any good recommendations? I have the Australian Michelle Kenway DVd and book which are brilliant for home use but there must be local help? Thank you

  3. Sylvi says:

    I can never be reminded often enough of these exercises. I did do a series of sessions with an NHS physio a few years ago and that helped enormously.

    Thanks Rachel

    • Rachel Kili says:

      I too can never be reminded often enough of these exercises!! In writing these blogs I think about not only what are very common problems other people have, but also what it is that I need to do more of too. You are not alone and I really appreciate your feedback Sylvi thank you. Rachel

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