What every woman should know about pelvic floor health
So, you’ve heard about pelvic floor health but still have no idea why it’s important? Or perhaps you haven’t heard about it at all? Either way, you’re in luck. Let’s get started, there’s a lot to cover.
Pelvic floor 101
First things first, where is it? The pelvic floor is a powerful set of muscles that sits like a hammock between your tailbone and pubic bone, supporting your central organs including your uterus, bladder, and bowel. Having a strong pelvic floor is important to a woman’s physical, emotional and sexual wellbeing.
But, 1 in 3 women suffers from pelvic floor dysfunction, as a result of pregnancy, genetic predisposition, high-impact sports, and aging. Symptoms of pelvic floor weakness can range from minor leaks when you sneeze, to unexpected accidents before you get to a loo in time, and in rare cases, organ prolapse. Ouch! Don’t worry though, we’ve got you covered with all the tips you need for a healthy and happy pelvic floor.
Kegels are your new best friend
Now for the good news: you can strengthen and tone your pelvic floor with targeted exercises, known as pelvic floor exercises or Kegel exercises. Up to 80% of expectant and new moms experience physical problems as a result of a weak pelvic floor, making Kegels especially important after pregnancy. But women of all ages should regularly work on their Kegels; in addition to improving bladder control, back pain and reducing the risk of prolapse, they also help build core strength, improve control during sex, and can lead to stronger orgasms.
Pelvic floor exercises are often introduced to women at a young age, by squeezing as if you’re stopping your pee mid-stream. Although this can help you identify the muscles, Kegels should not be practiced in this way as it can cause further damage.
In theory, Kegels are straightforward enough: simply contract your pelvic floor muscles for 5-10 seconds, relax and repeat several times a day. But, pelvic floor exercises need to be performed regularly and correctly to be effective. With ordinary Kegels, women often find it impossible to know how well they’re doing, or if they’re making any progress. Most of us get bored and give up. A lot of women also have trouble with the technique, as up to 30% of women push down instead of lifting, which can also cause more damage to the pelvic floor.
Meet the world’s smallest and smartest Kegel trainer
Designed to cut out all of the guesswork, Elvie Trainer is an easy, fun and effective way to strengthen and tone your pelvic floor. The small pebble-shaped pod is inserted into the vagina and connects to an app on your smartphone. The free app visualizes your technique and muscle movements in real time while guiding you through fun, five-minute workouts. You can also view your workout history and progress over time. Plus, it will even alert you if you’re exercising incorrectly!
As a result of centuries of mystery and taboo surrounding women’s bodies the pelvic floor is an overlooked and neglected of women’s health. Fortunately, the tide is shifting and it’s never too late to start investing in your pelvic floor health!
This is a guest article by Helena Cardow, Content and Community Executive, Elvie.