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  • Kris

Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor

The pelvic floor consists of muscles and connective tissue that attach to the bones at the bottom of the pelvis. You can imagine it as a “hammock” at the bottom of the pelvis that supports the pelvic organs (urethra, bladder, intestines, and rectum). These muscles are vital - they help stabilize the hips and trunk (especially when walking or standing). They also contribute to sexual health function. These muscles can become weak and dysfunctional due to:

  • Pregnancy

  • Age

  • Menopause

  • Surgery

  • Repeated heavy lifting

  • Prolonged sitting

  • Excessive weight

Conditions such as endometriosis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), interstitial cystitis, or habitually restricting bowel movements can also lead to pelvic floor dysfunction.

Symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction are:

  • Urinary issues: urge to go or painful

  • Constipation or bowel strain

  • Lower back pain

  • Pain in pelvis, groin, or rectum

  • Discomfort during sex

  • Pressure or spasms

Exercises to Strengthen the Pelvic Floor Muscles:

  1. Kegels:

    • Lie on floor with feet hip width distance apart and knees bent

    • Inhale then as you exhale draw in lower ab muscles and squeeze muscles around the urethra like trying to stop urine flow

    • Hold for 1-2 seconds then relax, feeling the pelvic floor muscles drop

  2. Heel Slides:

    • Lie on floor with knees bent and feet hip width distance apart

    • Inhale to prepare and then exhale draw ribs in

    • Slide right heel away keeping pelvis level

    • Inhale, then draw leg back in as you exhale

    • Repeat 10 times per side

    • Click on link below for video

  1. Marches: Increase core stabilityand strengthen the pelvic floor.

    • Lay on floor with knees bent and neutral pelvis

    • Inhale to prepare and exhale to begin drawing pelvic floor up and engaging TA muscles

    • Lift one leg to tabletop and lower slowly

    • Alternate each leg 10-15 times each

    • Keep pelvis stable throughout the exercise

    • Click on link below for video

Engaging the Transverse Abdominis (TA) muscles and oblique muscles at the same time may lead to a stronger abdominal contraction. Practicing these exercises can help improve the strength of the pelvic floor muscles which can lead to many benefits including reduced incontinence, better sexual health, decreased pelvic floor prolapse symptoms, and may reduce the symptoms of an overactive bladder. Strengthening the pelvic floor can help improve your health as well as your overall quality of life.

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