Where are your pelvic floor muscles and why are they important?
|What can I do to ensure my pelvic floor muscles are strong and well-toned?|
Bringing tone and vitality to this area will help protect you from many problems that might occur. By exercising your pelvic floor you will help to strengthen the muscles which support the urethra, bladder, uterus and rectum. In turn this could dramatically alleviate urinary incontinence, support childbirth and discourage pelvic disease and menstrual problems. Many women are aware of the need for pelvic floor exercises but few carry them out regularly and effectively. Kegel exercises are often taught at ante-natal classes but are soon forgotten. Only the disciples of yoga and Pilates are likely to fully appreciate their benefits. In yoga, the pelvic floor exercise, or mula bandha, is one of the fundamentals of core health.
The muscles form a figure-of-eight stretching between the pubic bone at the front and your coccyx or tailbone at the rear. The urethra and vagina pass through the front 'hole' and the rectum through the rear.
As well as creating strength and tone to the muscle itself, exercises increase the blood flow to this region which helps with healthy cell renewal. Like any other muscle within the body they benefit from exercise and toning on a regular basis.
When the pelvic floor muscle weakens, a number of things can happen. A woman may develop urinary or stool incontinence, that is, an inability to control the bladder or bowel.
A weak pelvic floor muscle can also lead to poor muscle action during labour and delivery; a decrease in sexual pleasure; or genital prolapse, an uncomfortable condition in which the bladder, rectum, or uterus moves down into the vagina.
For most women, weak pelvic floor muscles are the real problem behind an overactive bladder and diminished sexual stimulation. Weak pelvic floor muscles are not normal at any age and may be reversed through simple exercise.
There are two types of urinary incontinence: stress incontinence and urge incontinence.
In stress incontinence, urine leaks out occasionally when doing such things as coughing, sneezing, lifting, or exercising.
Urge incontinence means that a woman is unable to hold her urine when there
is a strong need to urinate. Women that suffer from U.I. also tend to have more
urinary tract infections and skin problems than other women. The risk of U.I. is
especially high during or after pregnancy, following childbirth , during and
after menopause, in cases of obesity and cigarette smoking, following prostate
enlargement and/or surgery, hysterectomy, radiation therapy to the pelvis; in
cases of diabetes, Parkinsonís Disease, back injury, cerebral vascular
accident and dementia.
Genital prolapse can result from a weak pelvic floor muscles or from
stretching of the ligaments that support the uterus. Symptoms include:
discomfort when bearing down to have a bowel movement; occasional, slight
vaginal bleeding; vaginal infections; or loss of bladder or bowel control. Kegel
exercises are recommended for the treatment of mild
to moderate prolapse and to supplement other treatments.
Most doctors agree that exercising the pelvic floor muscles is the best way to protect and treat yourself against these ailments. Whilst exercise may not provide a complete solution for all women it is certainly a good first step and one that you can maintain with very little effort or disturbance to your daily routine.
However, there may be other factors at work such as infection, inflammation, injury, abnormalities of internal pelvic organs, or emotional factors. It is important for women experiencing any of the symptoms described to check with their health care professional to determine the cause and proper treatment of the problem.
Exercises can strengthen the pelvic floor muscle and improve blood circulation to the pelvic area. Increased blood circulation, combined with strengthened muscles, work together to improve and regain vitality.
For incontinence, exercise helps by strengthening the muscles around to rectal opening and the urethra, preventing the loss of body waste.
∑During pregnancy they help to support the baby and mother throughout the pregnancy, birth and post partum.
The increased blood flow creates extra lubrication by causing secretions to seep through the walls of the vagina. This can help prevent discomfort during sexual activity. In addition, there are many nerve endings in the PC muscle. If it is firm, the pelvic floor muscle responds to stimulation by contracting (tightening). This increases pleasurable sensations.
Genital prolapse can be greatly helped as exercises help to improve all the muscles supporting the organs at risk.
The development of well-toned muscles has been shown to help 86% of women with symptoms due to weak pelvic floor muscles.
Every couple that has experienced the natural beauty of childbirth also knows the changes in the vaginal embrace after delivery. As ageing enters the picture, weakened muscles can affect the enjoyment and performance of both partners. Pelvic floor exercises can improve the vaginal embrace and restore youthful inner strength.
You have the option of choosing exercise to help relieve and even eliminate incontinence or improve the vaginal embrace instead of submitting to more complex surgical procedures. The following sections explain how you can practice the best forms of exercise.
For more information and scientific papers related to incontinence and pelvic
here or visit the site of The Bladder and Bowel Foundation that used to be known as The Continence Foundation.
What can I do to achieve and
maintain a healthy pelvic floor?
What can I do to achieve and maintain a healthy pelvic floor?
The PelvicToner is the most effective pelvic floor exerciser on the market and is the quickest, simplest and cheapest way to achieve a stronger pelvic floor and better bladder control.
It is an essential self-help device for all new mums, older mums and especially those going through the menopause, and for all women suffering bladder, prolapse and sexual enjoyment problems because they have a weak pelvic floor.
In clinical trials the PelvicToner has been proven to be much more effective than other 'toning' systems such as expensive electro-stimulation devices and vaginal cones or weights.
Based on the success of clinical trials the PelvicToner is the only pelvic toning device to be available on NHS Prescription.
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