What are pelvic floor muscles?
Women are not the only ones with a pelvic floor; men have them as well. The pelvic floor muscles are a group of ligaments that make up your pelvic region. For women, the pelvic floor is the group of muscles, nerves, and ligaments that support the bladder, rectum, and reproductive organs. In men, the pelvic floor is the muscles that protect the bladder, rectum other organs in the pelvic region. Men and women are both capable of developing pelvic floor weakness. In fact, it is just as common in men as it is in women.
Symptoms of pelvic floor weakness in women
Pelvic floor muscle weakness symptoms include but are not limited to:
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Painful urination that is not related to a UTI
- Painful intercourse
- Bowel difficulties
- Pelvic muscle spasms Lower back pain
What causes pelvic floor weakness in women?
In general, pelvic floor muscles are weakened, stretched out, or even too tight from various causes. Common causes of weakness are childbirth, menopause, or as we age. In less common cases, it can happen early on in life. Certain things can also cause pelvic floor weakness as well such as:
- being overweight
- being a heavy lifter at the gym
- injury to the pelvic region
- bowel issues such as constipation
- nerve damage
- pregnancy can be hereditary
Benefits of pelvic floor exercises
Having a weakened pelvic floor can be inconvenient and painful. If not strengthened, it can cause many health issues such as bowel incontinence and constipation or even pelvic organ prolapse. It is very beneficial and relatively easy to strengthen your pelvic floor by doing exercises. Some exercises can even be done while driving or watching television on the couch.
Exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor:
It takes practice to learn the correct way to do kegel exercises. However, once you know how easy it is to do, you could do them any time of the day or night. Imagine that you pause to stop yourself from urinating when you are peeing mid stream. That is the same muscle you engage when you do a kegel exercise. It is often similar to trying to hold in your gas. The goal is to activate this muscle by tightening the muscle around your vagina and anus (identical to stopping yourself during urination or holding in gas) for a few seconds and then releasing it. Kegel exercises can be done as often during the day as you feel comfortable. The goal is to do this kegel exercise in 10 or so increments. So contract for a few seconds, then release a few seconds, and so on. It is important to note that kegel exercises should never cause extreme discomfort or pain. If this is the case, it is essential to reach out to your general practitioner/
Healthy diet and exercise
Maintaining a healthy diet and weight is essential when strengthening your pelvic floor. The more weight you carry, the more pressure is pressed down on your pelvic floor. Also, regular exercising is essential and activates your ab muscles. Be careful when heavy lifting as it can contribute to pelvic floor weakness.
Yoga works to stretch and strengthen all muscles of your body, not just your pelvic floor. Specific yoga poses, such as child’s pose, target your pelvic floor muscles. Quite a few studies have supported that yoga has increased women's pelvic floor weakness while decreasing their bowel incontinence.
How long does it take to strengthen the pelvic floor with exercise?
If Kegels are done regularly, you can expect reduced pelvic floor weakness in just a few weeks. However, depending on the severity of your pelvic floor weakness, it may take a few months to expect noticeable results. It is never too early or too late to start making kegel and other exercises part of your daily exercise routine.
Can pelvic floor exercises cure incontinence?
Pelvic floor weakness is treatable with exercises and without the need for surgery. Most exercises can be done at home. Some people find it helpful to seek a physical therapist in addition to at-home exercises. A physical therapist can help with a treatment called biofeedback. It has helped over 75% of people to strengthen and retrain their pelvic muscles.
Leak proof underwear
When you experience pelvic floor weakness, one of the most concerning things you deal with daily is keeping your underwear dry. Panty liners often are a quick fix; however they need to be changed often and may get bunched up in your underwear with movement. Not to mention how often they need to be changed. Also, most panty liners don’t come in a wide variety of leak-proof choices. Leak Proof Underwear provides all day protection without the need for frequent changes or leaks. They are easy to wear and discrete under clothing. They also:
- Help protect from urine leakage from coughing, sneezing, or laughing caused by pelvic floor weakness
- Fight odors to help you feel fresh and dry
- Lightweight for all-day wear
- Prevent breakthrough and leakage through underwear onto other clothing