I recently had a baby, what can I do to strengthen my pelvic floor?
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The pelvic floor is a combination of muscles and connective tissue that span the area underneath the pelvis.
This area of muscles protects and provides stability for vital organs such as the bladder, intestines, and uterus. This is also known as the pubococcygeal muscle or the PC muscle.
If pelvic floor muscles are weak, its side effects can include, but are not limited to, urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, vaginal atrophy, and decreased sexual pleasure in the genitals.
Regular exercise of the pelvic floor muscles can aid in recovery from unwanted issues and speed tissue recovery after a childbirth or surgery. A strong pelvic floor may also increase sensitivity and responsiveness to pleasure nerve endings in and around the genitals. Toned pelvic muscles are an important part of healthy daily living and a quality intimate life.
See figure below for general illustration of the pelvic floor.
Pelvic organ prolapse is when the muscles and ligaments supporting the internal pelvic organs (bladder, rectum, small bowel, and uterus) weaken and can no longer provide support. The organs will lose support and begin to fall out of place, which can lead to health complications and pain.
There are several different types of pelvic organ prolapse:
The most common causes for pelvic organ prolapse are childbirth, menopause, and having a hysterectomy. Kegel exercises and kegel assistant devices designed to help you strengthen the pelvic floor can be beneficial in reducing risk of pelvic organ prolapse. It is important to talk with your doctor about necessary treatments to maintain your pelvic health. If you believe you may have pelvic organ prolapse please seek immediate treatment from a primary medical provider.