Pelvic floor muscle exercises are difficult and frustrating for many women, especially if your pelvic floor is weak or if you’ve never exercised these muscles before.
Learn how to feel your pelvic floor exercises with these Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy tips and techniques. These techniques will not all suit everyone- choose those techniques that you feel comfortable with to help you locate your pelvic floor muscles.
What Do Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises Feel Like?
Pelvic floor muscle exercises feel like an inwards lift and squeeze of all three pelvic openings(the vagina, urethra or urine tube and anus), immediately followed by relaxing the pelvic floor muscles back to resting level.
7 Top Tips for Feeling Your Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises
These following techniques are designed to help you exercise your pelvic floor muscles (shown above). Notice how the pelvic floor muscles wrap around the three pelvic openings; the vagina, anus and urethra.
1. Use a small mirror to look at the entrance of your vagina (preferably lying on your side). When you perform correct pelvic floor muscle exercises you should see a tightening of the opening of your vagina and an inwards movement of the area between your anus and vagina. If your muscles are really weak, you may not see much movement at all.
2. Gently insert your clean lubricated index and/or second finger into your vagina approximately 2-3 cm (preferably lying on your side). Rest your fingers against the back wall of your vagina. This is the wall of your vagina that is closest to your rectum or back passage. As you tighten your pelvic floor muscles you should feel the back wall of your vagina move forward even slightly against your fingers. You may also feel the walls of your vagina squeeze inwards around your fingers and lift upwards inside your vagina.
3. Touch your perineum (between your vagina and anus). If you feel uncomfortable touching inside your vagina, instead lie on your side with your knees bent and use your index finger to touch the area of skin between your vagina and anus (this is called the perineum). You can also feel this same area by feeling through your underwear. Try to feel this area lift inwards away from your finger as you contract your pelvic floor muscles.
4. Sit on a rolled towel and sit it on a firm chair and then sit astride the rolled towel with it positioned between your legs so that it presses up against your vagina. Now try to feel the sensation of your pelvic openings lift up and squeeze in and around where you sit as you perform your pelvic floor muscle exercises.
5. Imagine stopping gas or wind from passing. Try to squeeze and lift the muscles in and around your anus to prevent the wind from passing. You may feel a tightening and lifting sensation around your back passage and your vagina as you do this. Don’t become confused by squeezing your buttocks. Pelvic floor muscle exercises don’t involve squeezing your buttocks which should stay relaxed.
6. Stop or try to slow the dribble of urine as you finish emptying your bladder. Only use this technique occasionally − no more than once a week to help you test your ability to contract and perform your pelvic floor muscle exercises. Do not perform this as a regular exercise and never do this if you are someone who has difficulty emptying your bladder.
7. Imagine resisting withdrawing a tampon. If you have ever used a tampons you can practice feeling your pelvic floor muscle exercises if you imagine lifting and squeezing your pelvic floor muscles to resist withdrawing a tampon from your vagina.
So there you have them − 7 expert tips for finding your pelvic floor muscles and feeling your pelvic floor muscle exercises. If you can feel your pelvic floor muscles, you are well on your way to better strength, control and support.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR, Michelle Kenway
Michelle Kenway is a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist and author of Inside Out – the Essential Women’s Guide to Pelvic Support. The Inside Out exercise DVD and book show women how to strengthen the pelvic floor and exercise effectively with pelvic floor safe exercises.