No matter what stage of womanhood we happen to be at, the majority of us have some passing knowledge of pelvic floor exercises (commonly referred to as Kegel exercises), and their prescribed importance to intimate well-being. Women’s magazines and blogs have all chimed in over the years, but most of us still can’t help but ask ourselves; ‘Why should I? Are they really necessary? And what do I have to gain?’
Whether you’re now considering starting a pelvic floor strengthening routine or have been doing it for years, we at Intimina would like to provide some simple information to shed more light on the topic.
Kegel exercises, named after Dr. Arnold Kegel who formalized this technique, are a series of vaginal contraction and relaxation movements that strengthen the Pubococcygeus (PC) muscle – the sling-like muscle that forms the floor of the pelvic cavity. This muscle serves many functions such as: providing support for abdominal organs (your bladder and uterus, to name two), maintaining good sexual health, and maintaining continence (bladder control) at all stages of life.
Like all muscles, the PC muscle naturally becomes weaker over time, or can lose elasticity from being stretched during childbirth, especially after multiple births. In fact, research has shown that 18.4% of mothers with one child to 32.4% of women with multiple children experience urinary incontinence after pregnancy (Nygaard, et al., 2008).
More than that, additional research has also linked a weaker pelvic floor to a variety of sexual issues, including vaginal dryness, loss of desire, decrease in orgasm frequency and intensity as well as limited sexual satisfaction (Salonia et al., 2004). Such experiences can be frustrating and embarrassing, yet the solution is actually easier than we think.
Improving Their Strength Over Time
No woman has to silently accept pelvic floor weakening and the health consequences that accompany it. Pelvic floor exercises can be performed before problems arise as a preventative exercise or after as a way of improving your quality of life. In support of this, research indicates that Kegel exercises are 66% effective at correcting pelvic floor problems without the need for additional medical treatment (Cammu et al., 2000).
Unfortunately, many women improperly embark on fruitless Kegel training regiments. This can be linked to not exercising the correct muscles, or simply forgetting to exercise as we should, given the additional distractions that come with a busy life.
As such, many women have found it helpful to use specially-designed Kegel exercise devices to supplement their daily routine. A device will provide you with an object to correctly locate and exercise the muscles, while giving additional resistance for a more effective workout (not dissimilar to weights in a gym).
Given the accompanying health benefits, pelvic floor strengthening is important to women of all ages. Whether you’re an expecting or new mother, experiencing menopause, or looking for a more satisfying sex life, Kegel exercises are a great way to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and improve your quality of life.
Please note that advice offered by Intimina may not be relevant to your individual case. For specific concerns regarding your health, always consult your physician or other licensed medical practitioners.