Most of us are concerned with our waistlines, our drooping chin, or receding hair. But how many of us pay attention to our pelvic floor? The pelvic floor muscles may be one of the most vital set of muscles to keep toned, yet most people consistently ignored them until there is a significant problem. The muscles of the pelvic floor support all the abdominal and pelvic organs from below – which is why it’s called a floor. It is made up of a group of small, overlapping muscles that form a cradle extending from one side of the pelvis to the other. In our world of comfort and efficiency, most of us live a life of sitting for the majority of the day. When we sit all day long, our pelvic floor muscles become weaker and weaker since they are not regularly engaged. Other common factors that cause stretching and/or weakening of the pelvic floor muscles are being overweight, constipation, and childbirth.
Although you probably never give it a second thought, good pelvic floor muscle tone is part of a healthy and well-balanced body. These muscles help maintain proper functioning of bladder and sphincter control. When they are weak, one of the first signs is an inability to hold urine when jumping, coughing or sneezing, also known as stress incontinence. As these muscles become weaker and weaker, urinary stress incontinence becomes more pronounced, with severe cases progressing to complete urinary incontinence or even fecal incontinence.
It’s not just about being able to have proper muscular control when your bladder is full. Weak pelvic floor muscles mean that your orgasm will suffer too. These muscles play a major part in sexual response and orgasm. The same pelvic floor muscles that squeeze tight to keep urine from leaking are the muscles that also contract during orgasm to provide repeating waves of pleasure. When the pelvic floor muscles are very weak, orgasms are diminished or even absent. Without the muscular contractions, the majority of pleasure with orgasm is gone.
Make a commitment to maintaining strength and flexibility of your pelvic floor muscles by paying attention to their conditioning every day. Doing regular exercise and systematic stretching are crucial to good physical condition of your pelvic floor, but it may not be enough. The muscles of the pelvic floor can be exercised by targeted sets of contractions and relaxation, either alone or with the help of pelvic floor weights. Unfortunately, if the muscles are too weak, it may be difficult to get a full, effective contraction. In that case, pelvic floor exercisers that use tens stimulation are the most effective way to passively exercise these muscles back to shape.