How Long Does It Take to Tighten Your Pelvic Floor?
You’re experiencing urinary leakage and aren’t sure how to improve the situation. Or, you’re struggling to have a bowel movement or feel like you can’t control your flatulence.
These are all signs that you have a weak pelvic floor. When you have weak pelvic floor muscles, it makes it hard to control your urine, excrement, and gas.
Fortunately, you can tighten your pelvic floor by consistently doing moves intended to strengthen the muscles in this region. Keep reading for more info about the process of tightening your pelvic floor.
Why You Should Exercise Your Pelvic Floor
The pelvic floor consists of the muscles located between your pubic bone and tailbone. Your pelvic floor muscles support the uterus and vagina (for women) and the bowel and bladder.
Your pelvic floor also includes your body’s sphincters. The sphincters are muscular bands that go around the urethra, anus, and vagina within the pelvic floor.
These sphincter muscles are the ones that you control and relax to allow urine, excrement, or gas to leave your body. The sphincter muscles are also important for your body’s sexual functioning.
When your pelvic muscles are weak, your internal organs aren’t adequately supported. You aren’t able to control your bodily functions and you may experience decreased sexual pleasure.
What Causes Weak Pelvic Floor Muscles?
There are multiple causes of a weak pelvic floor. For women, the extra weight and strain associated with carrying a baby often stresses the pelvic floor muscles, causing them to weaken.
Men may lose pelvic floor strength due to prostate cancer treatment. Both men and women can experience pelvic floor weakening related to obesity and constipation.
Signs of an Issue with Your Pelvic Floor
Common signs that you’re experiencing pelvic floor dysfunction are
- Urine leaks when you exercise, laugh, sneeze, or cough
- You don’t always reach the toilet before you have to go to the bathroom
- When lifting or bending, you pass wind from the vagina or anus
- There’s a sensation of heaviness in the back or pelvic region
- Tampons fall out or don’t stay in place
- You’re experiencing reduced sexual sensation
Treating Your Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
Many cases of pelvic floor dysfunction can be managed and improved with exercises that tighten and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and the nearby support muscles.
It may seem like pelvic floor exercises are an overly simple way to manage your condition. However, one study that examined whether biofeedback improved the effectiveness of pelvic floor exercises found that the exercises themselves were just as effective at maximizing the results from pelvic floor muscle training.
You don’t need special equipment to tighten your pelvic floor; just consistency and patience.
How Long Does It Take to Get Results from Pelvic Floor Exercises?
Pelvic floor exercises don’t offer results overnight. Like any muscle, it takes time for the muscle to repair itself after being stressed by exercise so that it can grow stronger.
Most people experience an improvement in their symptoms within 4 to 6 weeks of consistently following a pelvic floor exercise routine. Your results will continue to improve over the next few months as your muscles grow stronger.
You can help your body achieve optimal results by working to reach or maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese puts additional stress on your body’s pelvic floor.
It’s also essential to make sure you’re correctly doing your pelvic floor exercises. Individuals who feel like they aren’t getting any results from pelvic floor training usually aren’t doing the moves correctly.
Best Options for Pelvic Floor Exercises
There are a few different exercises that will assist you with tightening your pelvic floor muscles. For the best results, you’ll need to strengthen the pelvic floor and its nearby support muscles.
Kegel exercises are one of your top options for strengthening the pelvic floor. However, many people aren’t using the right muscles when they do Kegels, or they’re engaging too may muscles.
To do a Kegel, you’ll tighten the muscles that you use to stop the flow of urine or keep yourself from passing gas. If you’re not sure if you’re engaging the right muscles, insert a finger into the vagina or anus. When you do a Kegel, you should feel your body tighten around your finger.
If you still aren’t sure if you’re engaging the correct muscles, pelvic floor training with a medical professional can assist you with learning how to do the move correctly.
Some insurance companies may not cover individual pelvic therapy sessions or you might have a high deductible. If so, a study suggests that group pelvic training therapy sessions are just as effective as individual therapy sessions at tightening the pelvic floor muscles.
You should work up to holding a Kegel for 10 seconds. Throughout the day, try to complete 3 sets of 10 Kegels.
While you should initially do your Kegels when you’re sitting (simply because it’s easier to make sure you’re using the right muscles from this position), you should eventually do your Kegels in different positions (such as standing, lying down, or squatting) to better strengthen your muscles.
Squats tighten two of the muscles that support your pelvic floor: your glutes and hamstrings. You don’t need any weights or special equipment to do these squats.
Instead, stand with your feet a little wider than your hips. Extend your arms out parallel to the floor and keep your back straight.
Slowly lower your hips until you’re in a sitting position while keeping your knees in line with your ankles. Then, return to your original position.
Try to do 3 sets of 10 repetitions each day.
Quick Flick Kegels
This exercise uses the same muscles you activate with a traditional Kegel, but instead of holding the contraction, you quickly activate and release your pelvic floor muscles.
You’ll contract your pelvic floor muscles fully and then quickly release them. You should complete 10 reps and aim to do 3 sets.
Pelvic exercises aren’t an instantaneous cure for pelvic muscle disfunction, but most people notice a tightening in their pelvic muscles within six weeks. Your results will continue to improve over the next few months if you consistently do your exercises.