PELVIC FLOOR EXERCISES - HOW AND WHEN?
The best thing about pelvic floor exercises are they are free and can be done anywhere and in any position.
But how do we do them?
Pull in your back passage as if to stop yourself passing wind, imagining your anus moving upwards and forwards towards your pubic bone. Although you’re focussing on moving the back passage the whole muscle will move as the muscle originates at the back of your pelvis. So don’t worry that we’re not pulling in the middle or front – we know that doing this on its own isn’t sufficient to stop urine leaking or prolapse symptoms. We know that working the muscle from it’s origin all the way to it’s insertion, is most effective.
It’s important that you don’t grip with your bottom muscles or legs, or hold your breath when you do this. Seeing a pelvic health physiotherapist to be individually taught how to find the correct muscles and how to isolate them is important.
Longer Pelvic floor holds (aim for a 10 second hold in time)
Start your training by breathing in to prepare and as you breathe out pull in your pelvic floor muscles (exhale on the effort). Now keep breathing naturally as you hold the muscles. Start by holding for up to 10-15 seconds. If you cannot feel the muscle relaxing at the end of the hold you may not have been holding that long, so hold for shorter period the next time. Do this “long hold” as many times in a row as you can until you can feel that the muscle is fatigues and difficult to lift. This could be anywhere between 5 and up to a maximum of 15-20 repetitions.
Quick Pelvic Floor contractions (aim for 10)
After a few moments of rest then try “quick snaps” where you draw the muscle in quickly, briefly hold then fully relax. Ensure to pause before you snap up again to allow the muscle to fully relax. Again, do this as many times in a row as you can, to a maximum of 15-20 repetitions.
Evidence shows it takes 3 to 5 months of doing pelvic floor exercises 3 times a day to notice a significant difference.
Remembering to do it can be difficult. There’s is a great app called Squeezy which can help you to remember, or you could put a reminder on your phone/post it notes around the house.
It’s important to get a thorough examination from a qualified pelvic health physiotherapist or your doctor. Not all pelvic floor problems are solved by doing pelvic floor exercises – if you have pelvic pain or a tight muscle then doing exercises can make things feel worse. !
Good luck and happy squeezing