You might develop a weak pelvic floor if you suffer from chronic constipation, or if you have a chronic cough or respiratory problem. You might also have it if you are carrying too much weight or if you do repeated heavy lifting.
Imagine you’re desperate to have a wee and you’re trying to stop yourself. Feel the pull from your muscles from around the back passage and feel that pull coming up to the front passage and you should be lifting those muscles up and in.
If you have a weak pelvic floor, you might find that you have leakage from your bladder, leakage from your bowel - in both men and women. You might find that you have a heaviness or dragging sensation in the middle.
The pelvic floor is the best bit of the body. The pelvic floor is made of a bowl of muscles that all work together to give you support to your organs. It also helps you give continence so you don’t leak from the front or the back end.
Another way is to just make sure that when you sit down you relax your legs, you relax your tummy, relax your bottom cheeks so that none of these squeeze – we don’t want movement up and down as you’re doing your exercises.
People with a really tight pelvic floor might find they have some aching around the pelvis anywhere from the front, the lower tummy area, to the lower back. They may also feel like they are sitting on a golf ball or tennis ball or it might just feel really tight inside.
We need to do pelvic floor exercises to make sure our pelvic floor is strong. Often people will find that maybe they start a new hobby. Say, they start running when they’ve had some children. They start to have some leakage.
One of the main benefits of having confidence in your pelvic floor is just having the ability to go out and enjoy your life. People who have pelvic floors that are not confident that they are going to do their job properly are going to avoid exercise.
Pelvic floors weaken over time because of challenges they can’t cope with. So if you are a woman that becomes pregnant then the muscles are having to resist the extra weight associated with that – the baby, the placenta, even the extra blood volume that you’re carrying around.
So if your pelvic floor becomes weak, one of the common problems people experience is leaking. So they wet themselves if they laugh or cough or sneeze or if they are jumping which is a problem because it stops people from exercising.
Pelvic floor exercises have to be done all the time. Regularly. Every day. Otherwise you’re going to lose strength again. So the guidelines are that if you are leaking, you should be doing a set of pelvic floor exercises three times a day.
Finding your pelvic floor can be a bit of a challenge. Most women aren’t that familiar with their undercarriage. It’s more difficult to identify than say your biceps because you know what your arm is and what it does.
I like to teach people a yoga move. It’s called "Mula Bandha". Its aim is to try and get all of the fibres of the pelvic floor contracting together. Because we know some people feel it at the front or some people can feel it at the back but the other muscle fibres aren’t engaging.