This post is guest-written by Efemia who are the creators of Olivia’s new ‘Strengthen your pelvic floor’ program, available in the Olivia app. Efemia is a Swedish company driven by solutions that simplify and improve women's health and well-being. With sustainable and innovative products, such as their non-surgical incontinence device, Efemia empowers women to live a simpler and more active everyday life.
We know that you know that you really should be doing your pelvic floor exercises.
Better bladder control. Less - ahem - surprise leakages. As well as better sexual pleasure and orgasms.
Wait - really?
Yes, you read that last part right. Is your interest suitably peaked? Then read on to find out all the benefits of pelvic floor exercises, as well as Efemia’s best tips on how to get started.
The pelvic floor and pelvic floor exercises
First things first. What is the pelvic floor exactly?
Your pelvic floor consists of a ‘sling’ of muscles and ligaments (connective tissues) that lie at the bottom of your pelvic area. The pelvic floor helps support the organs above it. Depending on your anatomy, this may be simply the bladder and the bowels, or the bladder, bowels, uterus and vagina.
Importantly, your pelvic floor helps support the neck of the bladder. This is helpful for when you laugh, sneeze, cough or run, as these actions create a downward pressure in your stomach. If the pelvic floor muscles aren’t strong or coordinated enough to resist the pressure, you may well experience some unwelcome leakages.
Pelvic floor exercises, often called Kegels, help strengthen these muscles, allowing them to respond with enough force and timing to support the bladder. You train the muscles by contracting the pelvic floor, using a lift and squeeze movement.
You can think of pelvic floor exercises as an extension of more traditional types of exercise. An active lifestyle is a great way to improve your overall health and fitness, especially when done in a preventative way. Similarly, it’s a smart idea to strengthen your pelvic floor before any problems arise. However, that doesn’t mean that those little squeezes aren’t effective if you do have a weak pelvic floor - quite the opposite!
Who should do pelvic floor exercises?
The short answer?
Everyone! No matter your age or sex.
However - childbirth, pregnancy (both Caesarean and vaginal) and menopause can all weaken or even damage the pelvic floor muscles. If you’ve experienced any of these, then it's time to schedule in some squeezes.
Other contributing factors to a weakened pelvic floor include ageing, surgery, repeated heavy lifting, prolonged sitting as well as any extra pressure on the abdomen (for example, from extra weight).
The benefits of pelvic floor exercises
As you saw above, building up the strength of your pelvic floor can help against leakages. A strong pelvic floor allows you to control your bladder and hold in urine more effectively.
What’s more, it can also help alleviate lower back pain, painful urination, painful intercourse and constipation.
Yes, we know - you just want to get to the good stuff! Namely - how on earth can a strong pelvic floor lead to more powerful orgasms?
Well, the pelvic floor muscles have lots of nerve endings and blood vessels and are sensitive to pressure. Exercising these muscles helps increase blood supply to these areas and can improve sensitivity during sexual arousal. In addition to this, the pelvic floor muscles are the same ones that contract during an orgasm - so the stronger they are, the more intense the orgasm. That sounds like a good deal to us!
Whilst you’re working on your pelvic floor, you may still want to use some products to help manage any incontinence you may face. There are special incontinence pads available to help contain leakages, as well as washable bed pads.
Additionally, bladder supports are available, such as this one from Efemia. We have created a device that is inserted into the vagina to support the mid-urethra when there is extra pressure on the abdomen. In this way, the bladder support helps prevent and reduce leaks. Efemia can be used whilst you get used to those pelvic floor exercises, or whenever you suspect a leakage may occur.
Getting started with pelvic floor exercises
By now, you might be quite the Kegels convert! But you might be stumped as to how to integrate them into your life. If that’s the case, here’s four simple tips to get you started:
1. Start slow
It may feel difficult to get the right positioning when you start. Avoid discouragement by working on getting the technique right first, before building up.
Treat pelvic floor exercises like any other form of exercise, meaning you shouldn’t expect to be an expert right from the get go. In the beginning, it’s more important to show up and get used to the movement.
2. Use the Olivia app
The Olivia app have just launched a ‘Strengthen your pelvic floor’ program, created in collaboration with Efemia. This program offers an in-depth description of three different pelvic floor exercises as well as providing a clear structure to incorporate them into your day.
3. Try a pelvic floor trainer
You may find it difficult to locate the pelvic floor muscles by yourself. If that’s the case, a pelvic floor trainer could be an option for you. These can vary from tech-free vaginal weights to internal devices that provide guidance and feedback via an app.
4. Make it easy
Remember that building a habit is less about will-power and more about making a behaviour simple and accessible. You can use this principle when integrating pelvic floor exercises into your life. What time is best for you to do them? When are you least busy, and most motivated to practise something new? Set an alarm every day to help you remember and keep yourself accountable.
So now you know just how important those pelvic floor exercises really are! Whether you’re looking to reduce unwanted leakages, or simply want to ‘tighten things up’ for a better bedroom experience, it’s never too late to start getting your squeeze on. You may have to wait a few weeks to notice a difference, but we promise - it’s worth it!
Disclaimer: This website does not provide medical advice. The information, including but not limited to text, graphics, images, and other material contained on this site are for informational purposes only. No material on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen. And never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.