Your pelvic floor is made up of muscles that support your uterus, bladder, and bowel. When these muscles are weak or overly tight, you can experience chronic discomfort or even pain, especially during sex, a pelvic exam, or when using tampons. Weak pelvic muscles can lead to unexpected and embarrassing urine leaks as well as pelvic organ prolapse, when organs such as the cervix or uterus drop into the vagina.
As an experienced gynecologist, Dr. Heripsime Ohanian understands how chronic pelvic issues and urinary incontinence can impact your life and self-confidence. She is experienced in many therapies for treating these issues, including noninvasive pelvic floor therapy.
How pelvic floor therapy works
Pelvic floor therapy involves certain exercises that you can do every day to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and keep them flexible. By addressing the root cause of your pelvic issues – most often weakened pelvic floor muscles – you can not only ease your symptoms and improve your overall pelvic health.
There are several exercises that focus on the pelvic floor muscles and can increase blood flow in your pelvic cavity, muscles, and vagina -- and we describe each of them below.
One of the most common exercises you can do to improve your pelvic floor muscles includes Kegel exercises. This routine involves contracting and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles repeatedly, very similar to the movements you make when trying to hold in or stop the flow of urine.
Tighten the muscles and hold for up to 5 seconds. Rest for a few seconds in between and do a total of 10 Kegels. Work up to doing five sets of 10 each day to get the maximum benefits. Performing Kegel exercises daily will increase your pelvic muscle strength.
The best part about Kegel exercises is how simple they are to do. You can do them discreetly anytime, anywhere with little effort.
Squats are simple exercises where you build strength in your pelvic muscles, hamstrings, and buttocks. Standing upright with your feet a bit wider than shoulder width, you bend at the knees and push your hips back, much like you’re getting ready to sit in a chair.
Aim for 15 squats each day to boost your pelvic and overall muscle strength.
The bridge exercise is a pelvic floor booster that requires you to lie flat on the ground with your feet on the floor and knees bent, and then lift your buttocks several inches off the floor.
During each bridge rep, you can squeeze your buttocks and pelvic muscles tight and try to hold your position for 5-10 seconds before releasing and resting back on the ground. Daily bridge exercises in combination with other pelvic floor exercises can give you great, long-lasting results.
Yoga offers many health benefits and has an impact on your pelvic function. A daily regimen of yoga can keep your body strong and your muscles flexible.
There a number of yoga poses that build your core strength, including the muscles that support your bladder and reproductive organs. These poses also increase your blood circulation which can improve your sexual function and lessen pain throughout your body.
You may also benefit from Urostym®, a state-of-the-art nonsurgical pelvic floor rehabilitation system that treats different types of incontinence, as well as pelvic pain and pelvic organ prolapse.
Using specialized diagnostic testing to measure pelvic floor muscle weakness, Urostym provides Dr. Ohanian with valuable information about areas of weakness to better target the pelvic floor exercises needed to reduce incontinence and pain.
Through a regimen of daily exercises, behavior modifications, in-office biofeedback, and electrical muscle stimulation therapy, you can improve the strength and tone of your pelvic muscles and reduce the frequency and severity of incontinence issues and pelvic pain.
At Bergen Aesthetics, we find that 75-80% of patients we see attain significant improvement or cure with Urostym. We recommend you have weekly Urostym treatments for the initial 8 weeks and then follow up as needed. You also continue to do your at-home therapies between sessions and as a continued treatment.
If you’re embarrassed by frequent urine leaks or are having other issues with your pelvic floor muscles, schedule a consultation at Bergen Aesthetics to talk with Dr. Ohanian about pelvic floor exercises and other available treatments. Call the office in Paramus, New Jersey, or use the online booking tool to make an appointment.