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  • Do you ever lose urine when you are sneezing, laughing, coughing, jumping or exercising?

  • Have you noticed less sexual feeling in the vagina, especially after childbirth?

If you answered “yes”, these exercises are especially for you! Incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine and can occur in young, active women, particularly during high impact sports! Contrary to popular belief, incontinence is NOT an inevitable effect of childbirth and aging. Strengthening a little known group of muscles called the “pelvic floor” can provide needed support and control. The pelvic floor performs three vital functions: they control urination and defecation (going to the bathroom), enhance your sexual pleasure during orgasm and support your pelvic organs. These muscles stretch like a hammock around all three openings: the urinary tract, vaginal opening and anus. Just like other muscles in the body, pelvic floor muscles can atrophy or they can become stronger with training.

How do you find the pelvic floor muscles? If you’re not sure where these muscles are, you can find them by trying to stop the flow of urine when you’re going to the bathroom. DON’T perform the exercises when using the toilet. Just identify where the muscles are, so you can do the exercises later. Another way to find your pelvic floor muscles: Imagine yourself sneezing and then trying to prevent yourself from “passing gas”. You’ll squeeze the muscles around your anus and vagina to hold it back. We also use the pelvic floor muscles during sexual activity: think of having intercourse and using the muscles of your vagina to tighten around your partner’s penis or finger. Develop an awareness of the many ways you use your pelvic floor and how it feels when the muscles are contracting.

When should you perform pelvic floor exercises? Pelvic floor exercises (also known as Kegel exercises) should be performed

1-2 times daily.

Ideal opportunities for performing pelvic floor exercises are:

  • when reading or relaxing in bed

  • when watching television

  • while waiting in line

  • while driving or commuting

  • during the cool-down/stretching portion of a workout or between sets during a strength

workout. If your pelvic floor muscles are weak, you’ll want to do these exercises lying down. As your pelvic floor becomes stronger, you can perform these exercises in a sitting or standing position. You should notice a difference after several weeks of faithful exercise.

THE WOMEN’S SPORTS

MEDICINE

CENTER

523 East 72nd Street, New York, N.Y. 10021

TEL: (212) 606-1345

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