Ever wondered if you’re actually squeezing your pelvic floor when you try to? If you have never actively squeezed your pelvic floor before, or don’t do it often, you may not have great awareness. When you’re not aware of your pelvic floor, the muscles become disconnected and this makes it a lot harder to turn them on, especially when you’re not really sure what you’re supposed to be feeling.
The more frequently you squeeze your pelvic floor, the stronger your mind-muscle connection becomes. This means that you are more in tune with your pelvic floor muscles and can therefore activate them easier.
Here are my 3 top tips on how to check if you’re squeezing properly.
1. Stop the flow
Try to stop the flow of urine midstream on the toilet. You can try this when your bladder is full and you’re busting and when your bladder is not so full. This will challenge your pelvic floor at different pressures. It’s safe to do this once a week, not every single time you empty your bladder.
2. Digital Palpation
Insert 1 finger about 1-2cm into the vagina and then squeeze your pelvic floor. You should feel a tightening around your finger. This will test your superficial muscles. You can then insert your finger deeper and press gently down to the side and squeeze again. Here you should feel the muscle lift up against your finger. This will test the deep layer of your pelvic floor. This should not be painful, if it is, consult your General Practitioner or Women’s Health Physiotherapist.
3. Look in the mirror
Use a mirror to watch the pelvic floor muscles contract. When you squeeze your pelvic floor, you should notice a drawing in and lifting up motion of the vagina and anus. This primarily tests the superficial layer of the pelvic floor muscles as the deep layer is internal.
If you are struggling to do this, then it may indicate a weak pelvic floor. I highly recommend consulting a trained Women’s Health Physiotherapist for an individualised assessment. Remember this should all be pain free. If you are experiencing any symptoms please seek professional advice from a medical professional.
(Doctor of Physiotherapy DPT, Bachelor of Exercise Science BExSc)