I bet you’re reading the title of this post right now and doing one of two things:
- Kegeling or trying to.
- Smugly saying to yourself that you never Kegel and you birthed 3 babies and you don’t pee when you cough, laugh or sneeze so you’re fine.
Hold the phone sisters. Give me a chance. Let me explain. You see in my previous life I was someone who treated incontinence and pelvic floor pain and dysfunction. So I know a thing or two about Le Snatch.
Before you completely write off this post and the Kegel I want you to be armed with two things:
- An understanding of how impactful our pelvic floor muscles are in every day function.
- How to properly Kegel.
If, after you have the read this post you still feel like telling me to piss off then so be it. But at least give yourself the opportunity to learn a few things.
Let’s begin shall we?
There has been a lot of talk about the importance of our “core”. Most people think that this core area is limited to our tummies. When in fact when you think about your core you want to consider the abdominal area but also the back and yes the pelvic floor. Consider the cylinder like shape of your entire torso and the gentle balance between all surfaces of musculature. To have all of this beautiful freedom of movement, balance and coordination we need a stable and efficient core.
Did you know that we are a little bit like an onion in that we have layers of musculature within our bodies. We don’t have as many layers as an onion but we do have deep musculature that you will never see in action from outside of your body. Meaning that though they are constantly in action and working you can’t flex them in the mirror like your biceps. If you are standing upright looking in the mirror at all it is because those deep postural muscles are in fact active.
Our pelvic floor serves as kind of like the bottom of this cylinder like a hammock. The muscles run basically from front to back (think about your pubic bone to your tail bone) and splay out toward where your groin meets your inner thigh/ hips. They are aiding in your ability to move and be upright. The pelvic floor is keeping your vital organs safe and preventing them from falling out and keeping your poop and pee in until you want to let it out. The pelvic floor also helps us enjoy sexual activity. The pelvic floor experiences all of our internal pressure changes from respiration, exertion, strain, plyometrics, etc. It too is constantly working and always sustains a resting tension.
The benefits of not neglecting to incorporate some Kegeling or activating and relaxing the muscles of the pelvic floor are many. They include:
- More pleasurable orgasms- that should be enough to sell you on the idea.
- Less likelihood of onset of bladder or bowel incontinence, pelvic floor dysfunction or organ prolapse (When one of your organs begins to protrude down and out of your vagina- google it if you don’t believe me). Incontinence and pelvic floor dysfunction issues are wrought with tremendous implications both physically, financially and emotionally.
- More stability in the core. Maintaining a healthy balance to allow you to move the way you desire with less chance of pain or injury.
Now on to the good stuff. How to Kegel or activate a pelvic floor contraction? Let me help you with that.
When I was actively practicing I used to tell people that the best way to begin to activate their pelvic floor muscles or Kegel was to pretend their Hollywood crush was standing before them and they had an urge to fart. Go ahead and laugh but stay with me here. To begin you squeeze the muscles of the anus. Not your butt cheeks. Then draw that contraction forward and up to the vaginal area (remember the area is like a hammock). There should be no movement other than the area that would be where a sanitary pad would be if it were placed in your underwear. You should feel some tightening. Remember to breathe. You can hold the contraction for 5-10 seconds or 2 seconds then relax the muscles completely. Upon relaxing you should feel the muscles lowering and maybe even opening. Repeat this contract/ relax pattern 10 times. Once you get comfortable with the isolated contraction of the pelvic floor muscles you can try it in a variety of positions and while moving.
That my friends is your basic Kegel.
The contraction of the pelvic floor IS NOT a strain or push.
If you’re still confused you can try inserting a clean finger inside your vagina and try tightening then relaxing around your finger.
Don’t skimp on the relaxation component of the exercise.
Don’t go crazy Kegeling. A little bit will do.
And though it may seem that I am trying to add another chore to your already full “To Do” list I am just offering up another bit of easy self-care.
You can literally do this anywhere and anytime. While brushing your teeth, at a stoplight, during sex, whatever works.
I do advise just like Nike says “Just Do It”
You’ll thank me!
If you’d like to learn more about incontinence or pelvic floor issues there are a host of wonderful books and resources. Feel free to reach out. I am not a medical doctor nor am I offering medical advice.
I am however, a woman who has seen the consequences of neglecting this vital part of our bodies. Peeing your panties, no matter how sexy they may be is so NOT sexy!
I wanted to share my knowledge and my personal practices with you for “Keep it TIGHT Tuesday”. Hope you enjoyed!