Do you know how to activate your pelvic floor?
The pelvic floor muscle is quite possibly our bodies biggest unsung hero. It plays a crucial role in day-to-day functions, from facilitating healthy toilet habits, to supporting our posture and physical movements.
The pelvic floor is a key set of deep muscles situated in the pelvis. They run from the frontal pubic bone to the base of the spine. Shaped like a basin, the pelvic floor holds the pelvic organs (uterus, vagina, bowel and bladder) in place and supports the bladder to provide control when you urinate. They relax as the bladder contracts to let urine out and tighten in order to allow you to hold. In a nutshell, a strong pelvic floor means everything is kept firmly in place and you should have full control over when, where and how often you visit the loo.
However, the pelvic floor muscles can lose their strength and tone. Pregnancy, child birth, menopause and high impact exercise can take their toll on the pelvic floor and this can lead to urinary incontinence - which affects 1 in 3 women and 1 in 10 men.
What are Kegel Exercises?
The pelvic floor muscle, like any muscle in the body can be strengthened and toned with exercise. Manual pelvic floor exercises or 'Kegels' are often recommended by healthcare professionals and Physiotherapists for patients with Urinary Incontinence, but many people find it hard to do these correctly. The pelvic floor muscle is deeply internal, and if your pelvic floor muscles are particularly weak, you may not be able to engage these muscles at all.
How do you do Kegel Exercises?
Kegel exercises, or manual pelvic floor exercises, involve the manual contraction of the internal muscles that control urination (the pelvic floor muscles) by lifting and releasing repeatedly. This is achieved by squeezing and tightening these internal muscles (as though you're holding in a wee) and then releasing again.
Pelvic Floor Expert & Pilates Instructor Jane Wake has worked with us to develop a series of 5, 10 and 15 minute pelvic floor workouts, to help you engage with these important muscles. Try the 5 and 10 minute workouts below, or see the full Invisible Workout series here.
Benefits of Kegel Exercises
There are many benefits to performing Kegel exercises and other pelvic floor strengthening techniques for women and men, including:
- Stronger bladder control
- Increased sensitivity during sex
- Improved posture
- Stronger core strength
- Reduced risk of bladder prolapse
If you're experiencing any difficulty with manually contracting your pelvic floor, perhaps consult with a GP or Physiotherapist who can help identify the best course of action.
You may also find INNOVO helpful. INNOVO is a clinically proven, truly non-invasive and long-lasting solution to Urinary Incontinence. Easy to use and comfortable to wear, INNOVO helps you safely and effortlessly strengthen and re-educate the entire network of pelvic floor muscles through gentle muscle stimulation.
Using INNOVO for just 30 minutes a day/five days a week over 12 weeks has been proven to treat bladder weakness - delivering results in as little as 4 weeks1.
INNOVO treats Stress, Urge & Mixed Incontinence in both women and men of all ages, and is the only non-invasive pelvic floor exerciser that targets the root cause of the problem. And best of all, INNOVO actually works!
A clinical study found that:
- 80% of users saw a significant reduction in leaks after just 4 weeks1
- 87% of users were defined as either dry or almost dry after 12 weeks2
- 90% of users would recommend the therapy to others3
1 Soeder S, et al, A randomised, controlled, double-blind, clinical study to compare two neuromuscular stimulator devices in female stress urinary incontinence: Effects on symptoms and quality of life. IUGA Conference 2018
2 R. Dmochowski – Novel external electrical muscle stimulation device for the treatment of female stress urinary incontinence: randomized controlled noninferiority trial versus intravaginal electrical stimulation. ICS Conference 2018
3 Observational study on the treatment of stress urinary incontinence with Innovotherapy, April 2014