Your pelvic floor is not something you usually think about, until you run into issues with the muscles and organs that reside there. Pelvic floor muscles support your bladder, bowel and uterus. While this may not sound too sexy, they help you maintain bladder and bowel control, support the spine and can impact your sex life.
Why do your pelvic muscles need strengthening?
When your pelvic floor muscles are weak or stretched, you can run into issues such as:
- Accidentally leaking urine when you laugh, sneeze, cough or exercise (urinary stress incontinence)
- Having a strong, sudden urge to urinate and not making it to the bathroom in time (urinary urge incontinence)
Constantly needing to go to the bathroom (overactive bladder)
- Finding it difficult to empty your bladder or bowel
- Having a bulge in the vagina or a feeling of heaviness, dropping, dragging or pulling (pelvic prolapse)
- Pain during sex
- Other types of pelvic pain and pressure
During pregnancy, these muscles also support the growing uterus. That’s why it’s so important that you keep these muscles strong. One way to keep your pelvic floor as strong as possible is by performing exercises to strengthen the muscles in the area. These exercises, called Kegels, are easy to do and can be performed anywhere.
To do a Kegel, simply tighten the muscles you use to stop the flow of urine for a few seconds and then release the muscles. Nothing else should move during the exercise. The full clench-and-release motion is considered one rep. Aim for doing 10-15 reps three times a day.
To Find an OBGYN Near You
Call (716) 923-7152
To Find an OBGYN Near You Call (716) 923-7152
What Causes Weak Pelvic Muscles
Some things that contribute to weak pelvic floor muscles include pregnancy, childbirth, pelvic surgery or injury, menopause and natural aging. Being overweight or having a chronic cough can also add to the problem.
Performing pelvic floor exercises is one thing you can do to increase the strength of your the muscles in this area. But if you experience any issues related to your pelvic floor, it’s best to discuss them with your doctor. There are a number of treatments available to improve pelvic floor problems, including lifestyle changes, medication, behavioral therapy, pelvic rehabilitation, non-surgical interventions and surgery.
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Date Last Reviewed: May 1, 2018
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD