Did you know that both women AND men have pelvic floor muscles? The stereotype is that only women have a pelvic floor (PF) and should do kegel exercises but in fact, men also have a PF and need to do kegel exercises! Read on to learn more…
Pelvic Floor Facts:
- The PF muscle is a large muscle roughly the size of a sheet of paper connecting your tailbone, pubic bone and hip to hip bone.
- In women, the PF supports the uterus, bladder, small intestine and rectum.
- In men, the PF supports the prostate, bladder, small intestine and rectum.
- Causes for weak PF muscles include pregnancy, childbirth, surgery, aging, excessive straining from constipation or chronic coughing, and being overweight.
- Having strong PF muscles leads to: less chance of urinary or bowel incontinence, reduce the chance of passing gas and an increase in sexual function (YES, that means more orgasms!).
Ways to strengthen the Pelvic Floor:
The most traditional way to strengthen the PF floor is to perform kegels. The best part of kegels if they can be performed in any position and nobody knows you’re doing them! Sitting or lying down is ideal but can also be completed in a standing position.
- If you are not sure if you’re contracting (lifting) the PF properly, imagine stopping urination mid-stream (do this once, but do not make this a regular habit it can lead to a urinary tract infection). Think about lifting up all four corners of the PF muscle.
- When performing kegels, DO NOT tighten your glutes or abdominal muscles. Also, do not hold your breath (breath normal).
- Once the PF muscle is lifted, hold for 2-3 seconds and then slowly relax. Repeat for 20-30 seconds multiple times each day.
- Play around with different counts like hold for 4 counts, relax 4 counts. Try Quick Flicks: 30 seconds lifting and relaxing quickly for 30 second blocks.
Kegels should be a permanent part of your daily routine to keep your pelvic floor healthy and strong!
Check out my YouTube video highlighting proper kegel technique:
If you’re having any issues performing kegels or not sure if you’re doing them properly, consult with your physician or healthcare provider.
The moral of the story is: DO YOUR KEGELS!