Is Your Pelvic Floor a Muscle?

Prefer a video?  Then watch my pelvic floor therapy overview instead.

I had my second pelvic floor therapy today and to recap last week -- my goal was to track how much fluid I drank and when, and how often I went the bathroom.  I wasn't the best at tracking, but hey, I tried!  I also did a series of Kegel exercises.  For example, five times a day I did ten Kegels at 50%, held for three seconds and released. Then, right after, I did ten Kegels as quickly and as hard as I could.  These exercises were designed for me to both strengthen my pelvic floor and also release versus being tense.

So those were my weekly exercises and guess what?  I pretty much failed.  You'd think it would be easy... there's nothing specific I need to wear, I'm not going to sweat, but I just kept forgetting!  I went to my appointment and was honest with my Physical Therapist. She was encouraging, of course, and reminded me that I make a point to exercise which is strengthening other parts of my body, causing there to be an imbalance.  The pelvic floor is a muscle, after all!

By tracking I found out some weird things... Like when I get up and go to bed.  I have a tendency to go the bathroom and within a few minutes, go the bathroom again.  It's like I want to eliminate the need to wake up in the middle of the night.  The other thing that happens is when I am just getting home after the work as soon as I get inside, I have such an urge to go the bathroom that I have to stop and do Kegels to keep from going the bathroom (this is called "urge incontinence").

My Physical Therapist explained this is a normal psychological response, probably due of years of habits, like not wanting the go the bathroom when I was at school, were engrained into me.  I would hold it as long as I could and as soon as I got to home, I was ready to go!  She also explained how common it was to not completely empty your bladder, so she challenged me to instead of going to the bathroom the second time right before bed, to do Kegel exercises instead.

So I pushed back on her a bit.  I asked her why then do I do double-unders (jumping rope with the rope passing twice each time) and then go the bathroom right away.  She explained to me that women have full bladders all the time and don't leak, so it's not because I need to empty my bladder, rather I need to strengthen the pelvic floor muscle.   

I'm continuing to take baby steps and will try to make a better effort to just remember to actually do my Kegel exercises!

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