Here we are going to teach you two strategies to find and feel your pelvic floor muscles working. If your pelvic floor muscles are weak or you’ve never exercised them before, it can be really hard to know whether you are actually contracting those muscles at all, or whether you are doing the exercises correctly. So it is really important that you know how to find the muscles and feel them before you start exercising them.
Your pelvic floor muscles are actually like a sling between the front pubic bone and the tailbone or coccyx, and they are basically a supportive hammock holding your insides in place and they are designed to help with continence – so they perform a very important role in that area. The pelvic floor muscles are actually inside the pelvis or pelvic bone.
So, now we will describe some techniques to find and actually feel that those muscles are working.
If you place a finger on your perineum (you can do this fully dressed), located between the vagina and anus, you can actually feel that area of skin lifting as you tighten your pelvic floor muscle correctly.
It feels like a tightening and squeezing in through the anus or the back passage, it feels like a lift and squeeze through your vagina and it also feels like a tightening and squeezing sensation in and around your urethra or urine tube through which the urine passes. So that action happens inside in an upward drawing motion.
In order to access the area of your perineum, lie on your side and place a pillow between your legs which should be slightly bent at the knee, take your first and second finger and place it on the area of skin between your vagina and anus – you can do this with your clothes on. As you place your fingers on the area, make sure that you have a nice inward curve in your back and then try and lift and squeeze through your back passage, try and draw up through your vagina, try to tighten around the urethra as you feel the perineum. What you should be feeling, is that the area of skin that your fingers are resting upon, is actually lifting inwards slightly. Even if it is only a fraction that it is lifting, then your pelvic floor muscle is working. Continue to breathe as you lift, and keep squeezing and lifting and then slowly lower it right back down and relax. If you can feel the area lifting, then that is your pelvic floor muscle, but if you can feel the area bulging then you are possibly not doing it right. That is definitely an exercise that is worth practising.
The second strategy to find your pelvic floor muscles is a technique to help you find and feel the muscles in and around the front part of your pelvic floor – the area in and around your urine tube or urethra, which can often be very hard to find and feel. The first thing that you need to do is to sit nice and tall on the edge of your couch or bed – posture is very important pelvic floor exercises – then place the heel of your hands over your pelvic bones at the front lower part of your, pointing your fingers down in the direction of your pubic bone, so you are actually gently resting your hands over your abdomen. You can also do this exercise lying down if you want to. Now you need to try and visualise or imagine you are drawing your fingers together, or drawing the bones of your pelvis, together. Obviously you can’t draw the bones of your pelvis together, but try and imagine that you are actually doing that or you could try to imagine that you are trying to stop the flow of urine, and you should feel your lower abdominal area tightening just a fraction. You should feel a gentle inward motion of your lower abdomen, and that tells us that you are actually contracting your lower deep muscles as well as some of your pelvic floor muscles in the abdomen. Hold for a count of five and then relax.
Continue to practice these pelvic floor exercises for women and remember, practice makes perfect.
One final pelvic floor technique or kegel exercise, can be found here.