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Importance of pelvic floor strengthening exercises re-emphasised

Wednesday 21st February 2018
Physios used Valentines Day to highlight the importance of performing exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor for both bladder function and sexual pleasure. Image: Anetlanda via iStock
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UK physiotherapists used Valentine's Day last week to launch a campaign to encourage members of the public to perform physiotherapy exercises to tighten up their pelvic floors.

The hospital's Pelvic, Obstetric and Gynaecological Physiotherapists (POGP) relaunched their annual 'Pucker up your pelvic floor' campaign on February 14th, using the occasion to highlight that these exercises do not only help with bladder problems, but also sexual function.

Speaking to Frontline, POGP spokesperson Amanda Savage explained: "Sexual pleasure comes from the movement and build-up of friction against the vaginal wall, which is layered with the pelvic floor muscles.

"Pelvic floor muscle exercises tone and strengthen these muscles, improving blood supply and nerve activity, all leading to greater pleasure."

Many people are already aware of the importance of tightening the Kegel muscles - those used to stop urine mid-flow - in order to tighten the pelvic floor, but the campaign highlights that it's also important to practice tightening the muscles around the anal sphincter too.

Studies have shown that doing this can assist in bringing the vaginal walls together for women, while it can also help men to sustain an erection.

In addition, the campaign emphasises the importance of relaxing the muscles after each contraction and suggests fitting in these exercises while performing other activities, such as brushing teeth.

Experts recommend squeezing these muscles ten to 15 times in a row at least once a day and that each squeeze should be short and powerful. Varying the strength of contractions is also important; physios suggest trying to maintain a squeeze for five to ten seconds regularly too, while continuing to breathe normally.

As they're discreet and require no special equipment, there is no reason for people to not perform pelvic floor-strengthening exercises regularly, but they do need to be made more aware of their importance, which is what the campaign aims to do.

Written by Mathew Horton

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