Why "Just Do Your Kegels" May Not Be Enough
Hi friends! We’ve all heard it: “Just do your Kegels.” While Kegels are one way to engage the pelvic floor muscles (think about trying to stop the flow of urine while peeing), there is so much more to having healthy pelvic floor muscles!
Pelvic floor muscle training incorporates more than just Kegels. Just like other muscles in our bodies, there is more than one way to strengthen these muscles. Think about your butt (gluteal muscles)—there are several ways to make these muscles stronger: squats, bridges, donkey kicks, etc. Same with the pelvic floor! Kegels aren’t the one and only way, and they aren’t the solution to all pelvic floor problems. In fact, with some pelvic floor problems like pelvic pain, doing Kegels can make symptoms worse.
The pelvic floor has four main functions support (helping to hold the pelvic organs up), sphincteric (controlling when pee/poop/gas stay inside the body or leave the body), stability (works as one of the four main muscle groups of our core), and sexual. Ideally, pelvic floor muscle training will incorporate all of these aspects. Training the pelvic floor muscles should incorporate training the muscles to do the right thing (squeeze or relax) at the right times.
Since the pelvic floor is part of the core, that exponentially expands our options for training it! The pelvic floor muscles must also work together with other muscles in our bodies. This means that working on the strength and flexibility of other muscles can help our pelvic floor muscles! Pelvic floor muscle training might include coordination training, training WITH other muscles, and flexibility training.
If you are experiencing pelvic floor symptoms, or just aren’t sure where to start, a pelvic floor therapist can help! Ask your provider for a referral or find one near you at www.mypfm.com/find-a-pt
Ready to learn more about your pelvic floor muscles? Here are some helpful resources:
Learn more about the pelvic floor muscles with our book: My Pelvic Floor Muscles The Basics
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Find some of our favorite pelvic health items on our Amazon Store
Pelvic Floor & Hip Complex: A deep dive into diagnosis and treatment of FAI and IT band friction syndromewith Dr. Amanda Olson, PT, DPT, PRPC
Pelvic PT Evaluation of the Pelvic Floor Muscles with Dr. Samantha Richter, PT, DPT, WCS
The Hip and Urinary Incontinence: A look beyond the pelvic floor at what keeps us dry with Lauren Trosch, PT, DPT, OCS
Written by Emily Reul, PT, DPT