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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

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Pelvic floor exercises for women

You may never have noticed your pelvic floor muscles before, but regular exercises to strengthen them can bring about surprising sexual benefits. Psychosexual therapist Paula Hall explains how to do the exercises.

Preparation

Before you start, you have to locate the muscles in question. You can do this by stopping your flow of urine next time you go to the loo. The muscles you use to do this are your pelvic floor muscles.
The benefits

Regular exercise of the pelvic floor muscles - the pubococcygeus sling of muscles that supports the urethra, vagina and rectum - has many health benefits, including:

* improved blood circulation to the genital area, which helps sexual arousal
* stronger and more pleasurable orgasms
* a greater feeling of control and confidence on vaginal penetration
* avoiding urinary incontinence
* avoiding vaginal prolapse


Some partners have reported increased sensation on vaginal penetration.
The exercises

There are two different types of exercises. The first, known as ‘slow kegels’ will strengthen the muscle and improve the length of time you can consciously hold them. The second,‘fast kegels’ improve how quickly your pelvic floor tightens when you cough or sneeze.
Slow kegels

For the slow exercise, start by lying on the floor, breathe in and as you blow out, slowly and gently squeeze your pelvic floor. Hold it for a count of 5 seconds and then continue to breathe normally. When you can, increase the hold to 10 seconds. Don’t be tempted to squeeze too hard or you will be using the wrong muscles. Start by doing 4 or 5 squeezes, morning and evening and gradually build up to 10 squeezes.
Fast kegels

The fast exercises are done in exactly the same way except that you squeeze quickly and let go quickly and don’t hold on at all. Rest for at least 3 seconds in between each fast squeeze. Repeat up to 10 times.

Once you’ve become fully confident with doing the exercises lying down, you can try doing them in a sitting position. It may take up to 6 weeks to begin to feel the benefits listed above, but then you'll definitely notice them!