The Lowdown on: Pelvic Floors
We talk to pelvic floor expert Mary Harman to find out what you can do if yours is totally shot - especially those of you who have had babies!
Embarrassing pee leakage?
If you’re suffering from symptoms of a ‘loose vagina’ (urine and bowel leakage, prolapse, pain sitting on a hard chair, pain during sex and more) you are far from alone. All of these symptoms are incredibly common especially if you have ever given birth.
The good news is that you can often improve and completely eradicate these symptoms by strengthening your pelvic floor muscles.
What is a pelvic floor?
Your pelvic floor extends across the bottom of the pelvis, running from the tail bone at the back, up to the pubic bone at the front like a cradle. Like all muscles in the body, if you exercise the pelvic floor muscles regularly you improve their strength and how well they work.
The pelvic floor muscles help to control the bladder and bowel preventing incontinence. They support the pelvic organs inside, which reduces your risk of a pelvic organ prolapse, and can improve sexual function, making intercourse comfortable, pleasurable and improve the ability to orgasm.
How should I do exercise my pelvic floor?
Start by closing around the back passage. Imagine you have wind but you want to try and hold it in, as if you were in a public place. You then draw the muscle forwards as if you were desperate to pass urine but trying to hold it in. It is important that the squeeze comes from the pelvic floor, and the surrounding muscles remain relaxed i.e buttocks, legs, tummy. Try not to hold your breath and keep breathing throughout the contraction.
There are two types of exercise you need to do every day.
1. Quick squeezes
Squeeze your pelvic floor muscles as quickly and powerfully as possible (as if snatching something) and then relax them fully. Keep squeezing and releasing until your muscles are too tired to continue.
2. Slow squeezes
Squeeze your pelvic floor muscles as tightly as possible and keep holding them for as long as you can. Do this until you feel the muscle getting tired and no longer lifting. The aim is to do 10 short squeezes and 10 long squeezes (up to 10 seconds) two to three times a day.
If you aren’t sure you are doing your pelvic floors correctly or would like some advice about anything related to the pelvic area, you can book an online or in person consultation with Mary via Koala & Joe using the button below. She is based in Basingstoke but sees patients virtually, nationwide.
Mary Harman BSC Hons, MCSP, SRP, is a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist for Koala & Joe, a new platform helping parents find and book trusted experts for their children.