Incontinence. Constipation. Back pain. Dissatisfying sex.
What do these unpleasant things have in common?
Well, they're all possible symptoms of pelvic floor weakening or damage.
Pelvic floor issues are more common than many may think. They're particularly common in women who've given birth.
Fortunately, this can be solved by doing simple pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegels.
Wondering if you should try these for yourself? We might be able to help you decide that as today, we'll show you some of the best benefits of working your pelvic floor.
A Quick Explainer on the Pelvic Floor
Before anything else, let's talk a little about the pelvic floor.
Your pelvic floor muscles run from the end of your pubic bone to the base of your spine.
That's why they're called a "floor" - they essentially support your pelvic organs, from the bladder to the womb.
As you may expect, pregnancy puts a lot of strain on the pelvic floor.
Between the weight of the baby and the fact that some women get an episiotomy (a cut to the pelvic floor) during childbirth to make the baby's delivery easier, pelvic floor damage is fairly common for mothers.
As we stated earlier, weak pelvic floor muscles can also cause sexual difficulties such as reduced vaginal sensation. This is because sexual sensation and arousal are usually contributed by voluntary contractions (squeezing) of your pelvic floor muscles.
As we stated earlier, this can lead to a host of problems, such as sexual issues, where vaginal sensation gets reduced which are usually contributed by as voluntary contractions (squeezing) of the pelvic floor contribute to sexual sensation and arousal.
It can also lead to stress urinary incontinence - which means you may urinate even from just doing things like laughing or jumping.
That's because the pelvic floor muscles aren't strong enough or in the right place to support the bladder anymore.
How to Get Your Pelvic Floor Back in Shape
Now, there are many ways to fix pelvic floor problems. These range from exercise to surgery.
Generally, though, regular exercise of the affected muscles is enough.
It's also easier and certainly involves fewer risks than surgery. Invasive solutions are typically the last resort for most people.
5 Benefits of Working Out Your Pelvic Floor
If you're still undecided about whether or not pelvic floor exercises are worth it, let's go over some benefits.
Bear in mind too that pelvic floor exercises typically take only five minutes.
That means you can reap a lot of rewards for fairly low time investment, as you'll see here.
1. Improve Urinary Continence
This just means that pelvic floor exercises can help you improve bladder control.
It's easy to see why. These muscles are responsible for holding back accidental leakage of urine.
Strengthening them thus helps reduce issues like peeing when you don't intend to, such as when you laugh or sneeze.
2. Improve Bowel Control
It's probably not astonishing that this is another benefit given the one we just mentioned.
It can not only prevent accidental leakage of stool but also uncontrollable passing of gas.
Given that both can be extremely uncomfortable in social situations, this can be a big source of relief to affected mothers.
3. Improve Your Sex Life
Individuals with a weak pelvic floor may experience difficulty in relaxing and coordinating the muscles in the pelvic floor and potentially experiencing pain during sex as well.
However, good pelvic floor muscles can help with sex by improving vaginal sensation and the ability to grip. In short, stronger pelvic floor muscles allow for stronger orgasms. During pre-orgasm, the pelvic floor muscle tension increases and prepares for orgasm - where rapid muscle contractions of the pelvic floor muscle get produced. This gets heightened for those with a strong pelvic floor as more blood rushes to your pelvic region.
That's why strengthening them can enhance sexual experiences.
In fact, many women have found achieving orgasm easier after pelvic floor strengthening.
Some suggest that this may also be because these exercises help women become more tuned into those muscles.
This may be part of the reason for the supposed enhancement in sensation.
4. Reduce the Risk of POP
POP refers to pelvic organ prolapse. It's a condition that happens when the pelvic floor muscles weaken so much that one of the pelvic organs drops where it shouldn't, due to lack of support.
The most common prolapse is the cystocele, for instance. This is when the bladder falls into a position where it pushes against the vagina and creates a bulge in it.
Pelvic floor exercises can help you avoid such issues, which are common among mothers.
That's due to the strain or damage the pelvic floor muscles have suffered from pregnancy or childbirth.
5. Enhance Quality of Life
This sounds like an odd benefit, but it's actually one that arises naturally from all the other benefits.
When you don't have incontinence issues and even find your sex life improved, for example, it's only natural to find your overall mood or outlook in life being better too.
This can have further positive effects on the quality of your life, both as an individual and a mother.
The Elvie Trainer: An Aide for Your Exercises
Now, it's worth leaving a caveat here about pelvic floor exercises.
Simple as they are - they're just simple clench-unclench cycles, a bit like trying to stop your urination in starts and stops - you can actually do them wrong.
For example, a lot of women start by pushing down instead of up.
Known as the Valsalva manoeuvre, this can actually damage the very muscles you're trying to work!
To avoid that, you can use aides like the Elvie Trainer.
It's a biofeedback tool that can connect to an app on your mobile and help you track your actual results.
It can even tell you if you're doing a Valsalva manoeuvre instead of a proper pelvic floor lift, so you can correct the issue instantly.
Recommended by over 1,000 health professionals, it lets you visualise your pelvic floor movements in real-time. This helps you conduct exercises better.
It even comes with an optional cover for custom sizing. That ensures a more comfortable fit for users.
Essentially, this trainer simplifies and optimises pelvic floor exercises. With it, you can avoid possible damage from incorrect execution and monitor your results over time.
Furthermore, if you want to read more tips that can make mums healthier and their lives better, see our other articles! We're all about making the world better for mothers!