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What Are Different Exercises for Pelvic Floor Muscles?

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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 16 July 2014
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The primary exercises that can be done for pelvic floor muscles are kegels in various positions. There are several muscles in the pelvis including the bladder, vaginal muscles in females, and the sphincter muscle in the rectal region. To exercise these muscles, it is necessary to contract them and release them while lying down, standing, and sitting to work each muscle individually in order to provide maximum results.

There are various ways to find the pelvic floor muscles to ensure that they are being worked properly during exercises. The first and easiest way is to sit on the toilet and begin urinating. Once urine flow has begun, contract the bladder muscles to stop the flow. When this is done, the bladder muscle has been properly contracted.

Another way to find the pelvic floor muscles is to insert a clean finger into the vagina and then pull the muscles inward so that pressure is felt around the finger. This shows that the bladder and vaginal muscles are contracting. The sphincter muscles are found at the rectal opening and are the ones used to prevent feces and flatus from exiting prematurely.

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The act of pulling in these various pelvic floor muscles is called a kegel. This is the most common form of exercise for the pelvic floor. To begin doing them in an effort to strengthen the pelvis one should begin by pulling the muscles in and then releasing them quickly. Do this at least ten to 20 times to start and work up to 50 contractions.

It is a good idea to do kegels to work the pelvic floor muscles in various positions. One should do them several times while lying down, while sitting, and while standing. Eventually it is a good idea to begin contracting then holding the muscles for a count of ten.

Since the pelvic floor muscles are not visible, it can be hard to tell if the exercises are working. Over time it may become easier to hold urine for longer periods of time and those with fecal or urinary incontinence will likely experience a decline in troublesome symptoms. Kegels can also help the pelvic floor rebound more quickly after childbirth or injury.

There are several factors which may impact the effectiveness of pelvic floor exercises. Being overweight, giving birth, and certain injuries to the sphincter muscles or bladder can cause the muscles to become weaker and less capable of completing exercises properly. Sometimes exercising alone is enough to correct these problems, but at other times, surgery or other more invasive methods may be needed.

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