A strong pelvic floor protects against bladder weakness and can ensure an easier birth. But what exactly is the pelvic floor? And how do I train it properly? Tikbow spoke with an expert.
Location and function of the pelvic floor
The pelvic floor is not a bone or a single muscle – rather, it consists of a network of muscles that separates the abdomen from the chest. The pelvic floor ensures that organs do not fall out of the pelvis. At the same time, it is very flexible and can allow large babies to pass through it;
The finger test: How strong is my pelvic floor?
You can measure the strength of your pelvic floor by placing a finger in the vagina and squeezing the pelvic floor,” explains Mandy Mangler, MD, head of gynecology and obstetrics at Vivantes Auguste-Viktoria-Klinikum in Berlin. "If you feel that you can hold your finger well, your pelvic floor is trained. If, however, I feel no resistance and can pull my finger loosely out of the vagina again, the pelvic floor is rather weak."
A weak pelvic floor weakens the bladder
The gynecologist warns against putting the wrong kind of strain on the pelvic floor: "Sit-ups or trampolining without tensing the pelvic floor at the same time weaken the pelvic floor. Jogging is also unhealthy if the pelvic floor is not trained;
A weak pelvic floor can lead to bladder weakness. It also affects the course of pregnancy and childbirth. "The bigger and heavier the baby, the greater the strain on the pelvic floor," says Mangler. If the pelvic floor is well trained, it can withstand this pressure and helps to ensure that the birth goes well. However, in around ten to 20 percent of women, the pelvic floor tears during the birth, reports the Pharmazeutische Zeitung. Small, overweight women and women with particularly heavy and large babies are at risk. The consequences can be incontinence and lowered organs.
Strengthening the pelvic floor
"Unfortunately, there is no screening test for the pelvic floor", says Mandy Mangler, MD. "If you want to take care of your pelvic floor, you have to do it yourself. The best thing to do is to start as early as possible, because the strength of the pelvic floor automatically decreases with age due to muscle loss." The gynecologist recommends doing special exercises for the pelvic floor five times a week. Five minutes is enough, but the exercises must be good and targeted,” says the expert. Pelvic floor trainers are also recommended. These are usually tampon-like devices that are inserted into the vagina. They are designed to stimulate the muscle area specifically.