One of the top ways in which a patient can not only give herself (and potentially her partner) more satisfying sexual experiences and improve sexual health, but also help with the birthing process, is to engage their pelvic floor muscles in what are known as Kegel exercises.
Pelvic floor muscles are responsible for supporting the bladder, uterus, small intestine, and rectum. They become especially important when women go through life changes such as pregnancy, childbirth, aging, or surgery, as well as conditions such as being overweight, chronic coughing, or constipation. If you find yourself leaking urine when you laugh, sneeze, or cough, or having a strong urge to urinate before losing a large amount of urine, you could probably benefit from Kegel exercises.
To complete Kegel exercises, first find the muscles by stopping your urination in midstream. If you can do this, you’ve found the correct muscles. Once you’ve identified which muscles they are, you can do these exercises standing, sitting, or lying down, though lying down is often easiest at first. Tighten these muscles, squeezing them for five seconds, then relaxing for five seconds. Focus on only your pelvic floor muscles; do not flex your thighs, buttocks, or abs, nor should you hold your breath. Breathe as normal.
You should aim to try it four or five times in a row, and work your way up to holding the contraction for ten seconds at a time and relaxing for ten seconds. Ideally, you should do three sets of ten repetitions each day.
Other suggested methods of improving your sexual health include trying yoga for additional muscle strength and eating foods rich in iron for an increased libido, or sex drive. Certain pelvic- and abdominal-centered yoga poses can not only improve muscle tone and flexibility, but also contribute to a positive body image.
It’s never too late to start taking steps to better yourself—particularly when it comes to your maintaining sexual health and wellbeing. At Women’s Wellness Institute of Dallas, our highly-trained staff of medical professionals are more than happy to take the time to serve as a helpful informational resource should you find yourself with questions regarding your conditions and your treatment options.