THE PELVIC FLOOR AND HOW TO PELVIC FLOOR EXERCISES

(AND WHAT NOT TO DO!)

 

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The pelvic floor is the base of the group of muscles referred to as your “core”. These muscles are located in your pelvis, and stretch like a hammock from the pubic bone to the tail bone (coccyx) and from side to side. The pelvic floor muscles work with your deep abdominal and back muscles and diaphragm to stabilise and support your spine. They also help control the pressure inside your abdomen to deal with the pushing down force when you lift, move or carry a weight. Pelvic floor muscles support the bladder, bowel and uterus. They help maintain bladder and bowel control and play an important role in sexual sensation and function. Imagine the pelvic floor muscles as a round mini-trampoline made of firm muscle. Just like a trampoline, the pelvic floor, when it is working well, is able to move up and down when any sort of pressure is placed on it. In women, the pelvic floor muscle layer allows three passages (the urethra, vagina and anus) to pass through. The pelvic floor muscles normally wrap around these passages to help keep them shut.

How to do pelvic floor exercises? Pelvic floor exercises can be done anywhere, while sitting, standing or lying. Picture a muscular sling as the floor of your pelvis, running from your tail bone to your pubic bone. Sit up tall and relax your shoulders. Focusing on your back passage, lift and squeeze upwards and inwards as though you are trying to avoid passing wind. Now, bring the pelvic floor lift forward to the front as though you are also trying to stop the flow of urine. Lift and squeeze your pelvic floor and notice how long you can hold for. Aim to hold for 3 seconds initially, building up to 10 seconds over time. Your shoulders, buttocks, thighs, hands and feet should remain relaxed. You should not hold your breath while you hold your pelvic floor lift. Rest your pelvic floor muscles for the same amount of time as you held the lift, before repeating. Aim for 3 to 5 holds in one set, building up to 10 over time. Repeat three sets a day. Seek help if you cannot feel your muscles hold/relax, cannot feel a definite lift and squeeze, feel any downward pressure on your pelvic floor during or after your exercises. If you feel you are not making any progress in your confidence, hold time or the number of holds you can do and see no improvement in your bladder or bowel control after three weeks of doing regular pelvic floor exercises you will need an assessment by a women’s health physiotherapist. If you have back or pelvic pain this can interfere with your pelvic floor function so make sure you get assessed to see if this could be a contributing factor.

HOW NOT TO DO PELVIC FLOOR EXERCISES!

  •  Stopping and starting your flow of urine every time you go to the toilet
  •  Tightening and relaxing your pelvic floor muscles quickly and doing hundreds of these a day
  •  Lying on the floor and lifting and lowering your pelvis and hips while flattening your back against the floor
  •  Tightening your buttock muscles
  •  Squeezing your legs together
  •  Holding your breath when you tighten your pelvic floor muscles
  •  Tightening your tummy really hard

If you are interested in learning more or need help with pelvic floor / incontinence issues please make an appointment with one of our women’s health physiotherapists at CPC Health / Pilates Bayside.

Make an appointment with us today

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