The pelvic floor is that set of muscles and ligaments whose important function is to keep the pelvic organs in the correct position. But what does it mean to "train and strengthen" the pelvic floor? And what are the correct exercises?
Pelvic floor this stranger. The vast majority of women only learn about it in pregnancy, when in the pre-birth course gynecologists or obstetricians begin to give it the importance it deserves. Yes, because the pelvic floor is that set of muscles and ligaments whose important function is to keep the pelvic organs in the correct position. But what does it mean "Train and strengthen" the pelvic floor? And what are the esercizi correct?
Bladder, urethra, uterus, vagina and rectum: in women, the well-being of all these organs put together depends precisely on the "health" of the pelvic floor. Not only in pregnancy, but also over the years.
What is the pelvic floor?
It is the rhomboid-shaped muscle region that runs from the pubic symphysis (indicating the cartilage joint that joins the right pubis to the left pubis) to the coccyx, closing the abdominal-pelvic cavity at the bottom, and surrounding and supporting the urethra, bladder and vagina up to the anorectal system. Laterally its borders are marked at the level of the ischial tuberosities.
Essentially, the pelvic floor closes the pelvis downward and primarily supports the pelvic organs such as the uterus and bladder.
Partly due to socio-cultural taboos, partly because it is a hidden area, the pelvic floor has not received the interest it deserved for centuries. Still, it is such an important area for women's health and well-being that it is closely linked to specific bodily functions (defecation e urination first) and to the sexuality.
It is only a few decades, therefore, that this area has been treated with the right duty and with a new focus on problems such as prolapse, incontinence female, rehabilitations that allow to avoid pharmacological and surgical interventions and prevention of perineal lacerations during childbirth.
Every woman, therefore, must try to recognize and activate your pelvic floor during daily actionssuch as sneezing and coughing, lifting a weight, or performing certain exercises. All this with the awareness that the pelvic floor is something able to adapt to movements and changes in posture, however always ensure good tension and keep the bladder, uterus and rectum of the pelvic area in place.
When the pelvic floor weakens, the structures it supports are lowered and their function is altered: in these cases it may happen that you experience little pleasure during sexual intercourse or have to undergo an episiotomy during childbirth or post-partum , having problems with incontinence or prolapse afterwards.
What is the pelvic floor made of?
Experts subdivide the pelvic floor into three floors:
- pelvic diaphragm, which is the internal layer consisting of the levator ani muscle with the ileus coccygeal, pubococcygeal and ischium-coccygeal bundles. These muscles form two kinds of fans with the coccyx as a common pivot, while the two portions of the levator ani are joined by the tendon fibrous center of the Perineum, between the vaginal and rectal canal. In the midline of the diaphragm is the genital hiatus, an opening through which the rectum, vagina and urethra pass. On the side, the pelvic diaphragm is inserted on the tendon arch, which runs from the pubis to the ischial spine
- urogenital diaphragm, lower than the muscle of the anus, has the shape of a triangle. The deep transversus muscle of the perineum and pubo-urethral ligaments are part of this diaphragm, which has an opening in the midline through which the urethra and vagina pass.
- superficial layer of the sphincters, composed of four muscles (ischio-cavernous, bulbo-cavernous, superficial transverse of the perineum and sphincter of the anus), its anterior part is the so-called “bulb-clitoral lodge” and the clitoris and bulbs of the vestibule are part of it.
Remedies and exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor
It is clear, at this point, that the pelvic floor must be known and taken care of. A weakened pelvic floor can cause various ailments such as:
- urinary incontinence
- sexual dysfunctions
- lower back pain
In addition to some things that should be avoided, such as certain types of sports, there are others measures to be put into practice if you want to protect your pelvic floor in all those situations that place it at potential risks, especially childbirth.
While on the one hand, there are intense sports such as weightlifting, athletics, jumping or gymnastics that can compromise the functionality of the pelvic floor, and therefore should be avoided or done at the same time as strengthening the floor, there are on the other conservative therapies such as kinesitherapy. Among them, Kegel exercises increase the blood supply to the muscles of this area.
In order not to weaken the pelvic muscles in anticipation of pregnancy, but even if you are overweight, you do particular sports, you are in menopause or simply to prevent a prolapse, there are a series of tests to be done daily. They do not require particular efforts nor the need to go to the gym or to do them at specific times of the day:
- One, two… stop peeing. One, two… stop peeing: that's right, while urinating, the first thing to do is to interrupt the jet of pee for a few seconds. In this way you will recognize the right muscles to train, but be careful to empty the bladder completely to avoid urine stagnation.
- Kegel exercises, therefore:
- empty the bladder completely
- contract the pelvic floor muscles for 5-10 seconds
- release them slowly for the same period of time
- do not move your legs, buttocks or abdominal muscles during gymnastics
- repeat the series 10 times, 2-3 times during the day
- Progressive contraction or elevator method: the muscles contract with increasing intensity, imagining to go up from floor to floor with an elevator, and then they release with the same gradualness
- Sports: outside of those more intense activities, to keep the perineal muscles trained and tense the pelvic area it is already sufficient walk or do a physical activity
READ also: 10 SPORTS AND ACTIVITIES TO DO IN PREGNANCY
In all cases, also remember to:
- keep your pelvic floor muscles contracted when you sneeze or cough
- avoid constipation
- do not gain too much weight during pregnancy
- avoid standing too long