By Erika Johnson and Carolyn Seale, Physical Therapy at UNC REX Outpatient Rehabilitation, Erika.Johnson2@unchealth.unc.edu, 919-784-4696
- True or false? The pelvic floor is made up of muscles.
True– The pelvic floor is made up of a group of muscles that rest at the bottom of your pelvis in a hammock shape. These muscles help control your bowel and bladder, aid in sexual functioning, support your pelvic organs, and aid in the stability to your pelvis and lower back.
- True or false? The best way to do Kegel exercises is when you are peeing, by stopping your flow of urine mid-stream.
False- Stopping your flow of urine mid-stream is a good way to identify the correct muscles to use during Kegel exercises, but doing this regularly interrupts your flow of urine and may prevent you from completely emptying your bladder.
- True or false? The best way to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles is to squeeze them as often and as hard as possible.
False- The most effective way to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles is to perform muscle contractions at about 30-50% effort, with full relaxation following each contraction. When you are ready to advance your training exercises, slowly increase the number of repetitions and/or the length of each contraction. Be careful not to overwork your muscles, it is possible to overdo it!
- True or false? Pelvic floor exercises can help me with my bladder leakage.
True- Pelvic floor exercises can help you improve control over your bladder and bowels. They also contribute to core trunk stability, postural control, and spinal health.
- True or false? Pelvic floor exercises are only helpful for women who are older.
FALSE- It is important at any age for you to get in the habit of routinely performing pelvic floor exercises. Long term strength maintenance is key. If you don’t engage your pelvic floor muscles, they will lose strength over time. Starting pelvic floor exercises now may even prevent you from having problems when you are older. Prevention is key!
- True or false? Learning how to properly do Kegel exercises is easy.
False- Studies have shown that many people who think they are doing Kegels correctly are in fact using the wrong muscles or straining their pelvic floor. If you are unsure of how to do these exercises or are experiencing pain when completing them, it may be helpful to be evaluated by a pelvic health therapist to ensure that you are using the correct technique.
- True or false? Pelvic floor strength is good for your sex life.
True- Pelvic floor strength increases the flow of blood to your genitalia, helps with lubrication, strengthens vaginal wall tone, and increases clitoral erection and orgasm.
- True or False? Kegels are for everyone.
False- Some women have tight pelvic floor muscles, and strengthening them can actually worsen their symptoms. If you are unsure if this is you, it may be beneficial to be evaluated by a pelvic health therapist.