The Best Exercises to Keep Your Pelvic Floor Strong

The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that support the bladder, uterus, and rectum. Keeping these muscles strong is important for bladder and bowel control, sexual function, and overall pelvic health. This is essential for helping to prevent pelvic floor problems that often occur after pregnancy or later in life. Here are some exercises recommended by a female surgeon and pelvic floor specialist that can help you keep your pelvic floor strong:

  • Kegels

Kegels are the most well-known exercises for strengthening the pelvic floor. To perform Kegels, squeeze the muscles that you would use to stop the flow of urine. Hold the squeeze for a few seconds, then release. Aim to do 10 to 20 repetitions, 3 to 4 times per day. If you don’t know how to do Kegels properly, your pelvic floor specialist can guide you.

  • Squats

Squats are a great exercise for working the muscles of the pelvic floor, as well as the glutes, quads, and hamstrings. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, then squat down as if you are sitting back into a chair. Keep your back straight and your knees in line with your toes. Repeat for 10 to 15 repetitions, 3 to 4 times per day.

  • Bridges

Bridges are another exercise that works the pelvic floor, as well as the glutes and lower back. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Lift your hips up towards the ceiling, squeezing your glutes and pelvic floor muscles as you do so. Hold for a few seconds, then lower back down. Repeat for 10 to 15 repetitions, 3 to 4 times per day.

  • Planks

Planks are a great exercise for building overall core strength, including the pelvic floor. Start in a push-up position, then lower yourself down onto your forearms. Keep your body in a straight line from your head to your heels. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, then release. Repeat for 3 to 4 sets.

  • Pilates

Pilates is a type of exercise that focuses on building core strength, including the pelvic floor. Many Pilates exercises are done on a mat and involve slow, controlled movements that target the muscles of the abdomen, back, and pelvis.

Remember that it’s important to work with a pelvic floor specialist or physical therapist to ensure that you are doing these exercises correctly and safely.

When should I see a pelvic floor specialist for pelvic floor problems?

There are two reasons it’s a good idea to see a pelvic floor specialist who is a female surgeon. Firstly, they can guide you to the right exercises and intensity, as well as suggest other non-surgical treatments that can help you more effectively. Overworking the pelvic floor muscles or performing exercises incorrectly can weaken the muscles, leading to pelvic floor problems like urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse. Remember, you can always request a female surgeon if it makes you feel more comfortable!

Secondly, pelvic floor problems that are severe and indicate a partial or full prolapse can’t be helped by exercises. In fact, you are more likely to injure yourself further and cause pain. If you have a heavy, dragging feeling in your abdomen, feel a bulge in your vagina, see tissue protruding, or are in pain, it’s time to see your pelvic floor specialist – preferably a female surgeon who can recommend a wide range of treatment options and support your recovery.