Fed up with urine leaks while laughing or sneezing? Well, you are not alone struggling with this common issue related to the pelvic floor. There are many factors that can make your pelvic floor muscles weak like childbirth, pregnancy, being overweight, aging, and straining during constipation. Anyone who suffers from urinary incontinence can benefit from a few exercises which can strengthen the pelvic muscles. But first, know what the pelvic floor is, the organs it supports, and all about its dysfunction.
What Is The Pelvic Floor?
It is a funnel-shaped structure with muscles and connective tissues, which attach to the pelvis. The pelvis is home to organs like the intestines, urethra, urinary bladder, rectum, vagina, cervix, and uterus.
The pelvic floor muscles are used in daily functions. They can help in maintaining sexual health, stabilize hips while sitting or walking.
What Is Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?
Dr. Anindita Majumdar Bhattacharya, Consultant Physiotherapist, Motherhood Hospitals, Indiranagar says, “Pelvic floor muscles can lose their strength due to several causes as mentioned above. This means that they lose control of pelvic organs, therefore leading to pelvic floor disorders like urinary incontinence, overactive bladder, pelvic organ prolapses. Many studies suggest that the number of women suffering from pelvic floor disorders will increase by 70% by the year 2050 due to the increasing cases of chronic constipation and abnormal BMI (Body Mass Index). “
Also, men assume that they cannot suffer from PFD, but such conditions can be prevalent among them too.
How Can You Strengthen The Pelvic Floor Muscles?
Just like other muscles in your body need the required amount of strength, pelvic floor muscles work the best when they are strong. Strengthening these muscles can help you in urinary or bowel control and improve urinary leakage, incontinence and pelvic floor prolapse.
As per many researchers, there is a link between male sexual function and pelvic floor function. Physical therapies can improve issues related to ejaculation and erectile dysfunction. Also, squeezing and contracting these muscles can improve sexual function in women too.
Dr. Anindita Majumdar Bhattacharya says, “Kegel exercises can help with urinary incontinence and other such problems. These exercises can help both women and men, irrespective of any age, in preventing urine leaks and strengthening pelvic muscles.”
Guide To Kegel Exercises
How To Do Them?
•Start by finding the right muscles. To identify the pelvic floor muscles, pretend you are trying to stop urination by contracting and squeezing the muscles. The muscles you feel relaxed and squeezed are your pelvic floor muscles.
•Once you identify the muscles, you can do the exercises in any position, although lying down is much more comfortable. Squeeze the muscles for 10 seconds and then rest for 10 seconds. You can do this exercise 3 times a day, on a regular basis.
Do not stop your urine stream by doing Kegels as it may lead to a urinary tract infection. Make sure your bladder is empty before doing the exercises. You must be careful and make sure that you are not squeezing or tightening your chest, stomach, or thigh muscles in the process. Also, do not hold your breath. Instead, breathe freely by relaxing yourselves from time to time.
When Can You Do Kegels?
The best part is that you will not need to devote a specific time of the day to do these exercises. You can do Kegels at any time of the day, while relaxing on the couch, watching TV, or even in your car. However, if you are facing any troubles while doing the exercises, do not hesitate to reach out to a doctor who can help you with the proper form and identify the correct muscles. In some cases, doctors can advise you to use extra equipment like vaginal weighted cones that women can insert into their vagina. Try to contract the pelvic muscles by holding the cone in place.
You can even go for pelvic floor physical therapy which can help with severe dysfunction. Make sure that you make Kegel exercises part of your daily routine, and you can see the benefits after 3 to 6 weeks.