If you’re struggling with leaking, prolapse, pain or discomfort you’re really going to want to know: are pelvic floor exercises effective?
In order for me to answer this, plainly and quickly, let’s first clarify which pelvic floor exercises we’re talking about.
Are we talking Kegels? Or are we talking about a variety of exercises that help to realign, stretch and strengthen the whole body?
First question: do Kegels work?
Ok, so my answer to the first one is NO but also MAYBE. Let me clarify. Kegels are the squeeze and release exercise your GP, midwive or female relative will tell you to do to keep everything in the right place. It’s probably the most famous of all the pelvic floor exercises around and the one that most of us mean when we talk about pelvic floor exercises.
The problem with this exercise is that it works in isolation to strengthen your pelvic floor. It’s useful if you have little or no sensation or continence and if this is you, get yourself booked in to see a Women’s Health Physio.
The problem with just strengthening the pelvic floor is that it can become tight and overactive as a result. Your pelvic floor is a muscle so needs lengthening and relaxing as well as strengthening in equal measures.
PLUS – did you know the Kegel was invented in 1945 by a man who has also been noted to say he’s not sure how effective this exercise is, in the long term.
Probably about time we updated ourselves, eh?
Second question: do exercises work that realign, stretch and strengthen the whole body?
Answer: YES! 100%
Our Pelvic floors (I’m talking about mine and yours) are a bit more complex than Mr Kegel realised. It’s not just our pelvic floor we need to factor into this equation, it’s how we live our lives and how we use the rest of our body that affects the function of the pelvic floor.
Our pelvic floors can become dysfunctional for many reasons. Some causes might be sitting too much, incorrect breathing, tight hamstrings or wearing the wrong shoes.
So if we consider that the whole body is involved in the pelvic floor function, then we start with realigning the whole body. We focus on getting your skeleton stacked correctly starting from the feet and working up. This includes the correct placement of your rib cage to help you breathe properly.
We then look at stretching key areas such as calves, hamstrings and inner thighs to make sure the pelvis can maintain a neutral position.
After realigning and stretching we then focus on strengthen key areas like the glutes.
This combined approach is effective because it’s addressing the whole body.
It’s time we updated our view of pelvic floor exercises from the isolated squeeze and release technique to an approach that considers the whole body.
So back to the question: Are pelvic floor exercises effective? Yes, they are because we focus on realigning, stretching and strengthening the whole body!
Simple as that.
Actually it’s not that simple, but if you’d like to find out more sign up for my 5 day video series to learn more about pelvic floor health.
I’ve recorded 5 super short videos that tell you more about pelvic floor health and how you can rehabilitated your own pelvic floor. If you can spare 10 minutes each day over the next 5 days you’ll learn exactly how to look after your pelvic floor.
The guide is called: How to stop weeing when you sneeze and other pelvic floor stories.