Pelvic floor muscle strengthening exercises, commonly referred to as “Kegels”, have become widely publicized in the women’s health realm. Although Kegels can offer benefit in a weak, elongated pelvic floor, they are not always appropriate for treating pelvic floor muscle dysfunction. In some cases, they may do more harm than good, and often they are not performed correctly.
After brief verbal instruction, 51% of women performed a Kegel exercise incorrectly (1), and 25% performed a Kegel technique that could potentially promote incontinence (1).
The pelvic floor muscles, just like any other muscle in our body, can be either lengthened (flexible) or tight and overactive. Tense muscles of the pelvic floor can be related to pelvic pain, constipation, and/or sexual dysfunction.
Pain leads to muscle tension, pressure, nerve entrapment, and decreased circulation, leading to muscle shortening. Shortened, overactive muscles can consequently lead to reduced movement and further pain.
Constipation, and particularly chronically straining to have a bowel movement, can also contribute to tightening and shortening of the pelvic floor muscles. This can not only further exacerbate difficulty with passing stool, but can also lead to pelvic pain, or pain with intercourse.
If you want more information on leaking and constipation we also did an article about it here!
Pelvic floor physiotherapists undergo specialized training and continuing education to safely and effectively improve symptoms related to chronic pelvic pain and pelvic floor dysfunction.
If you would like to book in to see Kelsey for your pelvic floor click here!
1) Bump, R.C., Hurt, W.G., Fantl, J.A., and Wyman, J.F. (1991). Assessment of Kegel pelvic muscle exercise performance after brief verbal instruction.American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology , Volume 165 , Issue 2 , 322 – 329.