The pelvic floor muscles support the pelvis, bladder, uterus, and other pelvic organs. These muscles hold the pelvic organs in place to prevent them from shifting downward. Sometimes, a woman has issues with the strength of these muscles, which can lead to problems like urinary incontinence and sexual dissatisfaction.
Definition of the Pelvic Floor Muscles
The pelvic floor muscles consist of muscles, ligaments, and tendons that act as a hammock. One example of a pelvic floor muscle is the pubococcygeus, also referred to as the PC or PCG muscle. This particular muscle surrounds the opening of the urethra, anus, and vagina.
The pelvic floor muscles may weaken or become damaged as a result of childbirth, pregnancy, aging, chronic coughing or weight gain. When issues occur in the pelvic floor muscles, complications like incontinence occur. It’s also possible a woman will experience a decrease in sexual enjoyment. It’s possible weakened pelvic floor muscles will cause abdominal or back pain.
Exercising the Pelvic Floor Muscles
Just like other muscles in the body, individuals can exercise the pelvic floor muscles. Exercising these muscles is known as doing a kegel. A kegel is when you tighten and release the pelvic floor muscles. These are the same muscles a woman uses when she stops and starts the flow of urine. Once a woman finds these muscles, she may exercise them by squeezing the pelvic floor muscles for a few seconds and then relaxing them for a few seconds and repeating. When starting these exercises, it’s important to realize it may take time to increase the strength of the muscles. Start off holding the muscles for three seconds and releasing them for three seconds. Then, increase the time the muscles are held gradually. Start by doing 10 repetitions of the exercise two to three times per day.
Unfortunately, even with a guide on how to do the exercises properly, it’s still possible to do them incorrectly. Doing the exercises incorrectly can cause you the complete opposite effect than intended. For instance, doing kegels improperly will worsen symptoms of incontinence. Approximately half of all women are doing kegels incorrectly, which isn’t helping the underlying cause of bladder leakage. PeriCoach eliminates the issue of women worsening their condition. PeriCoach consists of a sensor that inserts into the vagina and an app that synchronizes with the sensor. The app begins by educating a woman on the proper technique while the sensor monitors the tightening and releasing of the pelvic floor muscles and detects if a woman is doing them properly. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget or skip a day of exercising the pelvic floor muscles, but the app encourages women to continue through monitoring that evaluates their progress. This app puts a digital spin on exercises that are oftentimes forgotten about and considered boring.