Top 5 Exercises for Strengthening Women’s Pelvic Floor Muscles

The pelvic floor muscles are at the base of the pelvis; they support the bladder, bowel, and uterus, ensuring they function correctly. Often overlooked, these muscles affect everyday activities such as bladder control and bowel movements. They also contribute to core stability during movement, and they enhance sexual function. Regardless of how young or mature women are, pelvic floor strengthening exercises are essential because they contribute to overall health and well-being. Making it essential for women to regularly engage in exercises for strengthening the pelvic floor muscles.

The Benefits of Pelvic Floor Exercises

Sometimes referred to as Kegels, pelvic floor exercises offer a variety of health benefits for women. Strong pelvic floor muscles aid bowel and bladder control, reduce incontinence and may mitigate issues associated with pelvic organ prolapse. Regular pelvic floor exercises assist in recovery and healing after childbirth and gynaecological procedures, reducing the risk of complications. A toned pelvic floor can increase sensation and orgasmic potential during intercourse to improve sexual satisfaction. In terms of overall physical function, strong pelvic floor muscles improve core stability and balance, reducing the risk of falls, especially in older women.

Five of the Most Effective Pelvic Floor Exercises

To do pelvic floor exercises, it’s important to know their location. Consider how you may stop urinating mid-stream and try this during urination to locate the pelvic floor muscles – do this only to find the muscles, as regularly doing this may harm the bladder. There are a multitude of pelvic floor exercises to choose from; here are five of the best. For the best results, consistency is vital, so do these exercises daily.

Kegels

The most common pelvic floor exercises, Kegels, are performed by tightening the muscles, holding the contraction for five seconds, and releasing them for another five seconds before tightening them again. Over time, these contractions can be increased to ten seconds each. These exercises are to be repeated in ten repetitions three times a day.

Squats

Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, lower your body into a squat as if sitting back into a chair and then stand up again. Ensure your knees stay aligned with your toes. This exercise will strengthen the muscles in your lower body and the pelvic floor.

Bridge

Lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor, gently raise the pelvis off the floor until your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. While your pelvis is raised, squeeze your buttocks and pelvic floor muscles, holding the contraction for a few seconds before lowering the pelvis back to the floor.

Wall Sit

With your back against the wall and feet shoulder-width apart, slide your back down the wall, bending your knees until they are at a 90° angle. Contract your pelvic floor muscles while holding this position for ten seconds before sliding back up the wall.

Yoga

 Yoga offers a more mindful method of engaging the pelvic floor along with controlled breathing. Poses such as the cat-cow, chair, locust, and happy baby pose are all effective options.

Before trying any of these exercises, it is critical to consult your gynaecologist. Pelvic floor exercises can exacerbate certain gynaecological conditions, and some exercises may not be appropriate depending on the condition. Your gynaecologist will advise you on the correct technique depending on your needs.

OMNI Ultrasound & Gynaecological Care

Condous performs Advanced Endosurgery procedures for women needing intervention for pelvic masses, adnexal pathology, severe endometriosis or hysterectomy. He also runs ‘Hands on’ Live Sheep Laparoscopic Workshops for gynaecologists at Camden Veterinarian School.
Having completed an undergraduate degree with the University of Adelaide, he left Australia in 1993 and moved to London where he completed his training in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. From 2001 to 2003 Condous worked as a Senior Research Fellow at St George’s Hospital, London. At St George’s he set up the Acute Gynaecology Unit, the first in the United Kingdom. It was also during this time that he developed an interest in Early Pregnancy and especially the management of pregnancies of unknown location (PULs). Condous has developed many mathematical models for the prediction of outcome of PULs which have been featured in numerous peer review journals. In 2005, he returned to Australia where he completed his Laparoscopic Fellowship at the Centre for Advanced Reproductive Endosurgery, Royal North Shore, Sydney.

Condous was appointed as a Consultant Gynaecologist and Senior Lecturer at Nepean Hospital in 2006 and soon was made Associate Professor. In 2010, he was made Departmental Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Nepean Hospital. He obtained the MRCOG in 1999 and was made FRANZCOG in 2005. In 2009, he was awarded his Doctorate in Medicine (MD), University of London, for his thesis entitled: “The management of pregnancies of unknown location and the development of new mathematical models to predict outcome”.

Condous has edited three books including the “Handbook of Early Pregnancy Care”, published over 100 papers in international journals and is internationally renowned for his work in Early Pregnancy. He is the Associate Editor for Gynaecologic Obstetric Investigation, which is a European based journal, as well as the Australasian Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine (AJUM). He is on the organising committee and is an invited speaker at the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (ISUOG) Scientific meeting in Sydney 2013. His current research interests relate to the management of ectopic pregnancy, 1st trimester growth, PULs and miscarriage and the use of transvaginal ultrasound (in particular sonovaginography, to predict posterior compartment deep infiltrating rectovaginal endometriosis).Condous is also actively involved with post-graduate education including the annual running of the Early Pregnancy and Gynaecological Ultrasound Interactive Courses for Sonologists, Radiologists, Sonographers and Gynaecologists in Australia.