Test your knowledge whether these statements are true or false.
One should practice kegels on the toilet.
Everyone should be practicing kegels daily.
One should keep their abs tight and pulled in to maintain their posture.
Yoni eggs and vaginal weights are helpful to improve pelvic floor strength.
Men don’t get pelvic floor dysfunctions.
The answer is all the above statements are false.
First, it is good to practice kegels, but not on the toilet. It is ok to practice stopping your urine stream on the toilet a few times to understand which muscles you are working, however after you learn which muscles to exercise stop practicing while you’re on the toilet. If you continue to practice on the toilet the signals from your brain will get confused and eventually you won’t be able to sit and empty your bladder completely. Practice only a very few times to learn the muscles and then practice at another time of the day, but not while on the toilet.
Next, this is my opinion and other professionals may disagree. I don’t think everyone needs to practice kegels. If you aren’t pregnant, postpartum or having pelvic floor issues, then your pelvic floor muscles are probably functioning normally and don’t need extra work. The pelvic floor muscles are constantly working to support our core and pelvic organs and if there are no problems with them, then they are probably working normally and don’t need extra attention.
Number three is a myth that physical therapists used to perpetuate. One does not need to keep their abdominal muscles tight and sucked in all day. Many of our abdominal muscles are constantly working throughout the day as well to support our body when it is upright. Our abdomen needs to relax and expand with our breath. Also, we shouldn’t be keeping any of our muscles tight and contracted throughout the day, that is not what they were designed to do. Yes, some muscles are constantly working, but they are moving through a range of expansion and contraction and when we volitionally try to keep our belly tight and sucked in we are inhibiting its function.
Yoni eggs were recently in the news for a lawsuit for false advertising, not necessarily related to pelvic floor muscle strength, but for other reasons. Most people do not need Yoni eggs or vaginal weights. On a side note, if you are going to put something in your vagina make sure it is made of a body safe material such as silicone, glass, or medical grade plastic. Jade is very porous and can trap bacteria inside and lead to UTIs and bladder infections. Here is a link to a previous blog post I wrote about toxic toys.
The pelvic floor muscles are made of 70% slow twitch endurance fibers and only 30% fast twitch muscle bulking fibers because the main job of our pelvic floor muscles is to support the organs of our pelvis and abdomen when we are upright. Then on occasion, like when we sneeze, cough, run, laugh or jump we need those fast twitch fibers to kick in to prevent urine leakage.
Our pelvic floor muscles are not like the big muscles in our body which we lift weights to sculpt and look good such as our biceps or our leg muscles. Those muscles are meant to grow big and thick
and powerful so we can walk, run, lift our groceries and our babies. Our pelvic floor muscles are made more like our lower back or abdominal muscles. They are meant to support the body when it is upright. Think about how one might exercise their lower back muscles or abdominal muscles versus how one might exercise their leg or arm muscles. With the leg and arm muscles fitness folks lift weights. To strengthen the abdominal or back muscles fitness folks might do sit ups or the Roman chair, but generally aren’t adding a lot of weight to those exercises because those muscles aren’t designed to lift heavy weights and bulk up. The pelvic floor muscles are designed similarly to the abdominal or back muscles.
Lastly it is a myth that men don’t have pelvic floor muscle dysfunction. Although it is far less common than in women, men do have the same muscles as women do in their pelvic floor, however the anatomy is slightly different and therefore men are not as prone to pelvic floor dysfunction. Most of the men I have treated for pelvic floor dysfunction have been because of something else, either an injury, a surgery or a medical condition. For example, men often have pelvic floor issues related to bladder control after prostate surgery. I had a few male patients this year with pelvic pain after they had hip injuries. Men don’t have as many openings in their pelvic floor thereby having less disruptions in the integrity of the muscles and creating less dysfunctions.
Comment below how you scored on this quiz and let me know any other pelvic floor questions you have or things you have heard about the pelvic floor that you want to know if they are true or false.
As always, if you have pelvic floor issues that you need help resolving contact me via phone or email and I will be happy to help you set up an appointment, find a pelvic floor PT near you, or direct you to someone who can help you.
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