The pelvis is the area between your two hip bones. The two sides of the pelvis are fused together at a point called the symphysis pubis. This area houses the pelvic organs: your bladder and female reproductive organs as well as your rectum.
The muscles that firmly hold these organs in place can be challenged when you get pregnant. Everything is stretched including them. They become weak. After delivery, if the muscles are not actively strengthened, it can lead to issues as a woman ages.
With age also comes menopause. The lack of hormones can lead to vaginal dryness and also further weakening of these muscles. As a result, the bladder can bulge downward, causing problems for the urinary system and the rectum. Simply coughing can cause urinary incontinence.
When these openings fall in on each other there are other repercussions. For one, you may have a less than satisfying sexual experience as a result. Your uterus could prolapse as well. The shifting of the structures in the pelvis can lead to abdominal and/or back pain.
Exercises to Strengthen Pelvic Floor Muscles
One way to prevent this from happening or to rectify weak pelvic floor muscles is to exercise them. But how do you do that?
First of all, learn to identify the muscles in this area. You can do this in the privacy of your own bedroom or bathroom. Lie on the bed or the floor and place a finger or two in your vagina. Squeeze hard. If you can feel the muscles tightening around your fingers, then you are using the pelvic muscles.
The same goes for your rectum and anus. If you are squeezing and feel it in that area, then you are also using other pelvic muscles. Resist the urge to squeeze your stomach muscles. If you are feeling it in your abdominals you don’t have the right area.
One of the best exercises for strength here is Kegel exercises. Women are told to perform these during pregnancy to help with the delivery. Continuing to perform them can help to tighten the pelvic muscles. If this is your first time, it can take about 8-12 weeks to see results.
How to Perform Kegel Exercises
Empty your bladder. Sit on a chair or lie down. Squeeze your pelvic floor muscles and hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Relax for the same amount of time and squeeze again. Repeat 10 times three times a day.
As you perfect your technique, you can perform them at your desk, in the car and while standing at the stove. You will find easier ways to incorporate them into your day.
To prevent your bladder from collapsing and leading to infections and discomfort, try Kegel exercises to strengthen pelvic floor muscles.