When it comes to your gym routine, exercises that strengthen your perineum or pelvic floor muscles are probably not at the top of your list. Perhaps many women who are reading this text don’t even know what I’m talking about. However, this area of our body, although little known and spoken, is extremely important for our daily lives. A stronger perineum helps to reduce the risk of various health problems and improves the quality of sexual life. Today I am going to show you some exercises for the perineum that strengthen and prevent urinary incontinence. Come on?
In today’s text we will talk about:
- What is perineum?
- When does the perineum lose strength?
- Benefits of exercise for the perineum0
- Exercises for the perineum
- Identifying the perineum
- Learning to exercise the right muscles
- Exercises for the perineum
- Exercises with accessories
What is the perineum?
The perineum, also called the pelvic floor, basically consists of a network of muscles, ligaments, tissues and nerves that support the bladder, uterus, vagina and rectum. When he is weak, all of these areas may not work as well as they should.
For several reasons, the perineum may become overloaded and the network may no longer provide support for its content, which can result in a number of symptoms.
When the perineum loses strength
The perineum can be compromised whenever its muscles, tendons, ligaments or nerves are weakened. This can happen as a result of pregnancy, childbirth, episiotomy, cesarean section, large uterine fibroids, smoking and associated chronic cough, frequent stress during bowel movements, obesity, diets rich in processed foods, menopause and hysterectomy. Even simple inactivity can lead to decreased tone, strength and flexibility of the pelvic floor.
When weakened, the muscles find it difficult to properly support a woman’s organs, and you may experience some of the following symptoms:
- Urinary or fecal incontinence
- Constipation or incomplete emptying of the bowel or bladder
- Decreased sexual satisfaction
- Inability to reach orgasm
- Sagging or prolapse of the uterus, bladder or rectum
- Low back or abdominal pain
Probably the most common weakened symptom is urinary or fecal incontinence. Strengthening the area not only helps to control the passage of urine from the urethra, but also helps to control the passage of feces from the rectum.
When something more serious happens, such as a perineal rupture or a prolapse, the options become more limited and surgery is needed. There are numerous exercises that can help to strengthen and gently stretch the pelvic floor. They are great techniques that bring benefits to women of all ages and even help prepare for vaginal delivery.
Benefits of exercise for the perineum
The pelvic floor is referred to by some as “the muscles of love”. This is because they surround the vagina as well as the clitoris and contribute to a woman’s sexual function and satisfaction.
The strength of this region increases the woman’s stimulation during sexual intercourse, due to increased blood flow, nerve sensitivity and circulation in the area, which results in greater sensitivity to touch. According to experts, women with strong vaginal muscles achieve better , longer and multiple orgasms , as well as greater ability to control each other’s time.
During menopause, women may experience a decrease in estrogen that can start weakening the pelvic muscles and connective tissues. This makes us more susceptible to decreased tone, elasticity and flexibility in the tissues of the perineum.
Strengthening your perineum before and during this transition period can help not only ensure comfort and pleasurable sex over the years, but minimize your chances of urinary incontinence.
Exercises for the perineum are one of the best natural ways to control urinary incontinence. These simple movements can help many women and men, regardless of their age. They strengthen the muscles of the perineum, which support the bladder.
Caring for the perineum during pregnancy can reduce perineal pain during delivery and protect mothers from perineal trauma (possible injuries to the genitals during delivery) especially episiotomies, that is, the cut that is made in the tissues of the perineum that surround the vagina, performed by many doctors during childbirth. For this reason, midwives recommend that, during pregnancy, women should perform perineal massages.
Exercises for the perineum
To avoid problems in the perineum and future surgery the best way is to prevent it. And when we talk about prevention, we are not just mentioning pregnant women or menopausal women, but all women who want (and should) know their own bodies and avoid future problems. Currently, the best form of prevention is exercises for the perineum.
This type of exercise consists of promoting the ability to properly contract and relax the pelvic floor muscles, strengthening this musculature in order to recover the functions of urinary and fecal continence. In addition, by exercising the perineum, you will gain a number of sexual benefits. Among them are: increased libido and lubrication in the vaginal canal, the feeling that the woman is more “tight”, because we can control the muscle as we want; helps in the treatment of anorgasmia (difficulty in reaching orgasm), multiple orgasms and helps to delay the partner’s ejaculation. Exercises for the perineum are part of pompoarism and pelvic physiotherapy.
Identifying the perineum
To be able to exercise the perineum it is essential to be able to identify it. To do this, try to stop the flow of urine the next time you go to the bathroom. You will notice the muscle you are using to do this action. It is precisely the perineum, the muscle we are going to work on. Remember not to perform this exercise while urinating more than once or twice, as abusing this technique can cause urinary infections due to incomplete emptying of the bladder.
Learning to exercise the right muscles
- Sit in a chair with your knees slightly apart. Imagine that you are trying to prevent the wind from escaping its posterior passage (anus). You will have to tighten the muscle just above the entrance to the anus. You should feel some movement in the muscle. Do not move your buttocks or legs.
- Now imagine that you are passing urine and trying to stop the flow. You will find yourself using slightly different parts of the pelvic floor muscles for the first exercise (the ones closest to the front). These are the ones who must strengthen.
- If you are not sure you are exercising the right muscles, place a pair of fingers on your vagina. You should feel a soft grip when doing the exercise. Another way to check that you are doing the exercises correctly is to use a mirror. The area between your vagina and your anus will move away from the mirror when you squeeze.
- The first few times you try these exercises, it may be easier to do them lying down.
Doing the exercises
1. Contract the perineum muscles for 5 seconds
When you are just starting out this is a great exercise. You don’t want to stress your muscles for a long time, you can even start with contractions that last just 5 seconds.
2. Relax your muscles for 10 seconds
You should always try to relax your muscles for 10 seconds before repeating the exercises. So count to 10 before starting the next repetition.
This can be considered as a series. If you started to contract muscles for 3 seconds, relax 10 seconds and repeat 10 times. This should be enough work once and the ideal would be to do it 3 or 4 times a day.
4. Increase the contraction time until it reaches 10 seconds
You can increase the time that you contract your muscles week by week. After reaching 10 seconds, do not increase any more, perform a 10-second series 10 times, 3 or 4 times a day.
Remember to rest and breathe between contractions. When you start, do the exercises while lying down. As you get stronger, do a sitting and standing exercise.
Exercises with accessories
1- ben-wa balls
Ben-wa balls are indicated for the practice of pompoarism with accessories because their main role is to stimulate the control of the musculature of the vagina.
They are made with two small balls, each with a weight, and approximately 5 centimeters each, connected by a silicone cord. There are several materials used in this accessory, but the most common is to find ben-wa balls made of silicone.
The idea of the exercises is simple: introducing them into the vagina by contracting the muscles and then, in the same way, expelling them. If you have never practiced exercises with accessories, start by introducing just one ball until you develop control in all regions of the vagina.
2- Vaginal cones
Cones have the same purpose as marbles, but are used in isolation. Each one has a different weight, and the idea is to introduce them into the vaginal canal and be able to hold it in there for a certain time. The secret of the exercise is that the woman needs to keep it in the canal, thus strengthening the region’s musculature.
Like the loads used in the gym, the weight of the cones must be progressive. According to the evolution of the practice of pompoarism you gradually increase the weight of the cones.
If you have doubts about the ideal weight for you, the tip is simple: if it slips, it is light, if it stays and demands your control, it is right, if it falls, it is too heavy.
Some people find it difficult to remember to do their exercises; a graphic or reminder on your phone can help.
Try to get in the habit of doing your exercises at other times as well, while continuing everyday life. For example, when brushing your teeth, when washing dishes, while driving …
You may find it useful to practice a “squeeze” just before doing something that would otherwise cause you to leak, such as coughing or getting up.
After several weeks, the muscles start to get stronger. You will feel that you can tighten your pelvic floor muscles for much longer without feeling tired.
It takes time, effort and practice to become good at the exercises for the perineum. You should start seeing the benefits after a few weeks. However, it usually takes two to five months for most improvements to occur. If you are not sure that you are doing the right exercises, ask a doctor, physiotherapist or sexual specialist for guidance. Do not wait until a problem arises, start now to prevent yourself. Your body thanks you.