Use these exercises to get a better pelvic floor!
Right, now (as per the previous blog about incontinence) we know that we can avoid incontinence and even improve our current situation. However, it can be hard to pinpoint how we achieve pelvic floor contraction.
Using your pelvic floor
Firstly, lets try and visualise what is actually happening with the body when we use our pelvic floor. If we visualise the pelvic floor as a sort of net, which slices us in half at the lower hip and is used to hold all of our insides, inside us we can start to figure out how to pull up the net or contract the pelvic floor.
To do this visualise lifting that net up inside of you is a good start.
Another way more practical way to think about it is the feeling you have when you stop your urine mid flow.
You can try this on the toilet if you like to get an idea of what the pelvic floor contraction is supposed to feel like however, do not make this a regular practice.
Once you’ve finished weeing, sit on the toilet for a couple more minutes and practice tensing the pelvic floor muscles again without urinating.
This should give you a good indication of what this contraction is supposed to feel like and show you the correct muscles to tense.
Furthermore, we can lie on our back and place a rolled up towel underneath the small of our backs with our legs relaxed.
If you push down into the towel using your tummy or like you were emptying your bowels you should feel yourself pushing the pelvic floor downwards.
To contract the pelvic floor, simply lift the muscles up away from the towel. Remember your legs should not be involved in this movement. It is an internal movement of your muscles.
Finally, if you are still having trouble finding your pelvic floor you can find a comfortable position and insert two fingers into your vagina.
As you contract the pelvic floor muscle you should feel your vagina squeeze your fingers and lift up and forward internally. Try a few different positions here as you may find a different position more comfortable for you.
If you are still struggling to find your pelvic floor despite all efforts please feel free to get in touch with a professional who can help you understand your body better and gain control over your pelvic floor and incontinence.
Remember you must consciously engage the pelvic floor to encourage it work all the time!
Finally, if you have managed to feel your pelvic floor working, great! Now its time to strengthen it! Here are a few exercises you can do all day anyway to help strengthen then pelvic floor!
Pelvic floor exercises
Contract the pelvic floor for 10 seconds, breathing normally and relaxing other muscles then rest for 10 seconds remembering to fully relax the body.
This is quite easy lying on your back (when you wake up and before you go to sleep for example) and can be more challenging when sitting (at your work desk).
If you have having trouble doing these sitting up, start with them lying down and then move to sitting once ready. Three to four times for 10 sets a day is a good start.
20 quick contractions squeezing as hard as you can and then relaxing fully one after the other. Again this can be done sitting or lying down throughout the day. You can do this a few times a day.
If you have trouble with incontinence when you cough/sneeze/jump etc, think about these contractions before you do the activity so you are able to be aware of the contraction while you are participating.
If you have been completing these exercises regularly for 2 months with no significant improvement it would be worth your time to see a physio or specialist that can look deeper into what is going on with your pelvic floor and assist with pelvic floor rehabilitation.