When it comes to pelvic floor health, there is no ‘one size fits all’ treatment plan that suits everyone.
The trouble is, we automatically think Kegel exercises is the solution to all pelvic floor problems.
But…Kegels don’t work for everyone and I want to explain why Kegels might not be right for you.
Kegels are those pelvic floor contractions we’re all told to do to strengthen our pelvic floor.
Now, don’t get me wrong. There IS a place for pelvic floor contractions in your pelvic floor rehab but it should NOT be the first thing you do.
I think it’s important to understand why Kegels might not work for you:
- There tends to be a focus on just the contracting part of a Kegel and often the relaxing bit isn’t really mentioned or taught. So what happens is you spend a lot of time just contracting and only doing half of the required exercise. You DO need to relax the pelvic floor too.
- It’s very difficult to know if you’re doing it right, lifting the right parts, without the help of a Women’s Health Physio who can check internally if your muscles are contracting.
- Your pelvic floor might not need strengthening it might be overactive or tight and doing more pelvic floor contractions will make things work.
- Kegels have limited effectiveness and studies show that women regained strength for the time they were doing them but once they stopped, their pelvic floor went back to how it was before. Who wants to have to remember to do Kegels for the rest of their life?
What to do before you revert to Kegels.
Your starting point with your pelvic floor health is to understand what’s happening with your pelvic floor muscles. You need to find out how they are functioning, so whether they are weak, strong, tight or overactive.
The best person to help you with this is a Women’s Health Physio. If you’re currently experiencing problems you NEED to understand exactly what they are before you decide upon a blanket approach (Kegels) that may actually not be right for you.
Once you have a clear idea of how your pelvic floor muscles are performing you can start to work on the right strategy for your body. This might be a short-term prescription of Kegels to help strengthen and reconnect with your pelvic floor. If you have a tight pelvic floor then your path will include learning how to relax and release tension. And if you are diagnosed with a prolapsed it will be useful for you to learn the right breathing technique to help manage internal pressure in your core/pelvic floor system.
What’s really important is that the pathway you choose is sustainable. Which is exactly why I focus on a whole body approach.
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