These are recommended for women with a weak pelvic floor tone. Pelvic floor muscles can get weak due to many common factors such as pregnancy, childbirth, long hours of labor, surgery/aging, or being overweight.
These exercises can help you prevent or control urinary or stress incontinence and other pelvic floor problems. They are usually suggested for new moms who wish to tone up loose vaginal muscles after childbirth or women with medical conditions. These also help in preventing leaks while using menstrual cups as weaker muscles are unable to form seal with the cup. However, this is a slow process, and you will need to perform these for at least 3-6 months to notice results.
These exercises are pretty easy to do and you can make them a part of your daily routine. They can be done anytime while sitting at work or relaxing at home. They help you strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that support the uterus, bladder, and small intestine.
Before we start the exercise, it is important that we feel the muscles to ensure we are doing it right. Here are some techniques you can try to find your pelvic floor muscles:
- Stopping or slowing the flow of urine while urinating and using an inwards lift and squeeze of the pelvic floor muscles.
- Contracting the muscles in and around the anus as if trying to avoid passing gas.
- Touch the area between the anus and vagina with your finger and notice your finger lift slightly inwards as you contract these muscles and not down and out.
To start, make sure your butt and tummy muscles are relaxed. If you are lying down, then you should be flat on your back with your arms by your sides and your knees up and together. Keep your head down to avoid straining your neck. You can do these while sitting, but for beginners, it is suggested to do them while lying on your back or side.
To perform the exercise, you need to follow these steps:
- Tighten up your anus. Something you would do to prevent bowel movement. You must not use your buttocks or thigh muscles.
- Simultaneously, squeeze in your vagina (like you would do to grip a tampon) and also your urethra, like you are trying to control urine flow while breathing in.
- Then relax and breathe out.
- First do these quickly, squeezing and relaxing every 1-3 seconds.
- Then do them slowly, trying to hold before relaxing – up to the count of ten.
- You should aim to do three sets of eight – tightening and relaxing of muscles – every day, three times a day. You can aim to do them in the morning, afternoon and evening.
- Don’t do more than what your muscles can handle, as this may result in overtiring the muscles and lead to incorrect exercise.
You can also make it a habit to tighten the muscles every time you sneeze or cough.
Disclaimer: This article is intended for educational purposes and should not replace professional medical guidance.