A ‘How To’ Guide From The Comfort Of Your Own Home.
I have a question for you…how well do you understand your own anatomy?
You don’t need a complex anatomy textbook but there are easy ways to do a general assessment of your pelvic floor coordination externally (and internally), in a way that is comfortable for you from home. So, if you are struggling to gain awareness of your own pelvic floor and what it is doing, then a self-assessment at home can be extremely valuable to decrease guarding, pain and increase control.
So how can you learn more about your pelvic floor? Here are 4 top tips and key steps for you to follow. Remember, only carry out what you feel comfortable with and I’m always here if you have any questions.
Lay down on your back in a hook-lying position (with knees bent and feet flat) – this could be on a mat on the floor or bed. If you are experiencing pelvic floor aches or pains you might feel better with knees out to the side in a “butterfly” shape supported by pillows. Then…
OBSERVE – without trying to actively do anything different to your ‘normal’ – how does your pelvic floor move? Does it rise when you exhale and fall when you inhale? How much does it move (variance)? If you change how you are breathing e.g. more relaxed vs. forceful as an example, how does this pelvic floor movement change?
LIFT – try to contract (actively lift) your pelvic floor like you’re trying to hold gas (a Kegel). Check – does it rise up towards your head? How many seconds can you hold it? What is going on with your breathing to initiate this active lift? What is going on with your surrounding muscles of the hip (any tension)?
LENGTHEN – Try to push your pelvic floor outward (down) like you’re trying to pass gas. Do you feel pressure moving gently downwards? What is going on with your breathing – exhale, inhale, breath hold?
Staying in the same position, do exactly the same exercise placing the palm of one hand against your perineum. When you exhale you should feel your perineum move away from your hand upwards towards your head (voluntary contraction). When you inhale you should feel your perineum move downwards into your hand (voluntary pressure down though your pelvic floor is lengthening here).
Go somewhere private and where you feel comfortable. Removing any clothing, including underwear, carry out exercise 1 again but this time you are going to see what is happening in real time! So you can use a mirror or put your phone on video mode in front of you. As you initiate a contraction (exhale) you should see the perineal body (the area between the vagina and anus) move away from the mirror, and towards the mirror as you push outward (inhale). Continue to observe – what do you notice? Do you feel any aches or pains, if so, is it in a particular spot? Take note.
4. FEEL AND TEST STRENGTH
This is where we get a little more intimate…as long as you feel comfortable doing so, insert your index finger or thumb into the vaginal opening (you might want lubricant to help).
To get a good gauge of what you are supposed to be feeling, imagine putting a finger in your mouth. When your pelvic floor contracts it should feel as it would if your mouth/lips closed around your finger, your tongue lifting your finger up and back towards the roof of your mouth.
So based on that analogy, can you feel a squeeze and then a lift? Does it happen in that order or do you feel something different? Does it feel strong or weak? What happens when you change your breath during a contraction e.g. exhale vs. inhale or when you are holding your breath?
How many seconds can you hold for? How many repetitions can you do before running out of steam?
So there you have it. Your own private pelvic floor check from the comfort of your own home! This can help you improve your own awareness of your pelvic floor coordination and assess your baseline strength (with no. 4). You can also check periodically if you are working on a rehab or strength programme to gauge your progress.
It is never too late to learn more about your anatomy and understand your body. And there is no time like the present!
What did you find most useful from the tips above? I’d love to know so please do comment below or get in touch!
Want to learn more?
This is just one resource and top tip you can find in your member portal as part of my signature 1-2-1 programme Strong, Free & UPLiftedTM. Want to learn more about how I can support you, book into your free consult with me here or review the course page .