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How can I strengthen my pelvic floor muscles?

The pelvic floor is a bowl of muscles that wraps around from your pubic bone in the front to your tail bone in the back. You can strengthen these muscles to improve bowel and bladder control.

To do a pelvic floor muscle contraction, pretend that there is an elevator in your vagina or anus. Start with the elevator on the ground floor, and then tighten and lift the muscles to bring the elevator up to the fifth floor. Hold it there for five seconds and then bring the elevator up to the 10th floor and hold for another five seconds. When you have completed the squeeze, make sure to bring the elevator all the way to the basement and leave it there for 10 seconds because relaxation is just as important as contraction of these muscles.

Start doing these exercises while lying in bed or on the floor. When you get better at them, you can do them sitting and standing. Do not do these exercises on the toilet because you should be relaxing these muscles when you are evacuating urine or stool.

If necessary, ask your doctor for a referral to see a physical therapist who is certified in pelvic floor muscle training. A pelvic floor physical therapist can coach you in your pelvic floor strengthening (Kegel exercises) and can also perform biofeedback, which improves your awareness of what is happening in the bowels.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
The Sex Rx for lax pelvic floor muscles: Strengthen your pelvic floor by contracting your Kegel muscles daily. Kegel muscles are the ones you use to stop your urine mid-stream. Don't exercise while urinating, but during any other time of the day (when you're sitting at traffic lights, on the phone, or at your desk) squeeze them and hold for a beat or do fast fluttering contractions. Shoot for 100 a day. Exercises that strengthen your transverse abdominals, the deep abdominal muscles that support your torso, will also help tighten your pelvic floor. There are even special exercise devices that resemble a vibrator and are designed to help you do Kegels correctly.
This content originally appeared on doctoroz.com

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.