Pelvic floor exercises (PFE) are the voluntary contraction of the pelvic floor muscles to strengthen them. All girls starting from the age of 10 yrs should do it. They are part of our ancient traditions such as yoga.
This helps by strengthening the muscles that can be damaged during delivery and with age,weight gain and menopause.
This is especially useful for women with urinary incontinence, faecal incontinence and vaginal problems.There is clear evidence that doing this exercise regularly helps a great deal. It can also help postpone and avoid surgery for early prolapse,stress incontinence etc.
The most important thing with PFE IS DOING IT REGULARLY.
These exercises can be done in the lying or sitting position.
The idea is to contract the muscle as shown above between the urethra (through where you pass urine ) and tail bone . These contractions are done in two ways. Fast and slow contraction. The fast contraction is a quick succession of contractions and is called the ‘knack’. The slow contractions are a succession of 10 contractions done in a manner that the contraction lasts 10 seconds and the relaxation of the muscle lasts 10 seconds.
These can be done when you are doing the dishes, driving or watching TV.
Ideally the rule of thumb is to do it ten times a day,ten fast and ten slow contractions each.
To check if you are doing them properly,you can just once or twice try doing them in the toilet,when you are passing urine. If you are doing it as it should be done, the contraction should stop the flow of urine,then you are using the right group of muscles.
However to start with the current recommendation world – wide is to have your treatment supervised till we as medical professionals can confirm you are contracting the right group of muscles and doing all the right things.
Because poorly done PFE can cause perineal pain,irritation etc.
It is not routinely necessary to examine yourself vaginally when you are doing this and it is recommended you start slowly and build gradually. For Example start with 3 contractions each three times a day for a week , then increase it to 5 contractions each 5 times a day, 7 contractions each 7 times a day and finally 10 contractions ,10 times a day. Similar initially the slow contractions should be held for at least 3-4 seconds and then slowly built to 10 seconds.
These exercises are particularly helpful for pregnant mothers and for mothers after childbirth. In addition perineal massage helps in pregnancy, after pelvic floor surgeries and prior to them.
Some women will not be able to do them and there are many reasons for this, but management of this problem and creating pelvic floor awareness is possible at specialised clinics.