How to Find Your Pelvic Floor Muscles

The pelvic floor muscles form the base of your pelvis. They act as a hammock reaching across from your coccyx (tailbone) at the back of your pelvis, to the front at the pubic bone. They are also attached to both sides of your pelvis so they can support all the pelvic organs staying in their naturally elevated positions. Your vagina/penis, urethra and anus all pass through the pelvic floor muscles to the outside. For them all to function correctly, you need a strong pelvic floor.

The pelvic floor muscles themselves cannot be seen from the outside but their effects can be felt by you and your partner. For women try the finger test; insert a couple of fingers into your vagina and squeeze your pelvic floor muscles. You should feel a gentle squeeze on your fingers if you are contracting your muscles in the right way. Your partner should be able to feel this squeeze when you have penetrative sex. Another way to be aware of these muscles is when you go to the bathroom; try stopping your urine mid-flow. By doing this your pelvic floor muscles are squeezing against your urethra to stop the flow. Don't do this often though! Stopping the flow of urine often can lead to the inability to fully empty your bladder and an increased risk of developing a urinary tract infection.

Kegel8 Vaginal Cones

If you are still not sure you have found the correct muscles, you can use a biofeedback pelvic trainer. The on-screen display shows you when you are squeezing the right muscles, and how effectively. Helping you refine your technique so you can make your exercises more worthwhile.

Or try a vaginal cone, Kegel8 Vaginal Cones have a unique indicator tail, which bobs downwards if you are correctly tensing your muscles.


Using a Biofeedback Pelvic Trainer to Measure Your Pelvic Floor Strength

Kegel8 Biofeedback Pelvic Trainer

Unless your muscles are extremely weak (and you are suffering from a pelvic floor disorder) or they are extremely strong (and you feel the benefits in the bedroom), you may not notice any change in the strength of your pelvic floor muscles as you exercise.

To help quantify your strength and whether your muscles are 'good' or 'bad' you can use a biofeedback trainer. The Kegel8 Biofeedback Pelvic Trainer is designed to help you track your progress. The on-screen display shows you when you are squeezing the right muscles, and how effectively. It even measures the strength of your pelvic floor muscles with its unique Squeeze Scale™. Set yourself a target to improve your strength each week to keep you motivated and prove how well you are doing. Then maintain yourself at the top, at level 9, with less frequent and more effective exercises.


If You Cannot Feel Your Pelvic Floor Muscles

Kegel8 Ultra 20 Electronic Pelvic Toner

If you cannot feel you pelvic floor muscles to contract them, the likeliness is your muscles are too weak for manual Kegel exercises to be effective. 64% of GP's, Consultants and Healthcare Professionals recommend using an electronic pelvic toner as the first course of treatment for a weak pelvic floor. The Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES) used by electronic toners are more than twice as effective as manual pelvic exercises. These toners have a variety of strength levels so even if you have little to no sensation, you will be able to feel it working. To learn more about the benefits of using an electronic pelvic toner, visit our Manual Exercises Vs Electronic Pelvic Toners page.

After pregnancy, some women lose some sensation in their pelvic floor muscles which makes it difficult to contract them. If you believe you are suffering from nerve damage, speak to your GP.


Sources

Brown, C. A. Sharples, R. (2014). Journal of the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Women's Health. Does neuromuscular electrical stimulation increase pelvic floor muscle strength in women with urinary incontinence with an ineffective pelvic floor contraction?[online]. 114(1), p 56-62. [viewed 06/04/2018]. Available from: www.csp.org.uk/sites/files/csp/secure/brown.pdf

Gillard, S. Shamley, D. (2010). Journal of the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Women's Health. Factors motivating women to commence and adhere to pelvic floor muscle exercises following a perineal tear at delivery: the influence of experience. [online]. 106(1), p 5-18. [viewed 06/04/2018]. Available from: http://pogp.csp.org.uk/group-journal/acpwh-journal-106-spring-2010/factors-motivating-women-commence-adhere-pelvic-fl

Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust. (2012). Electrical stimulation - treatment to improve your continence. [online] Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, 2012. [viewed 06/04/2018]. Available from: https://www.guysandstthomas.nhs.uk/resources/patient-information/gynaecology/Electrical-stimulation.pdf

Lang, J. Pang, H. Shi, H. Shi, X. Sun, Z. Wang, W. Zhu, L. (2015). Zhonghua fu chan ke za zhi. Continuous improvement of portable domestic pelvic floor neuromuscular electrical stimulation on the pelvic floor function of patients with urinary incontinence. [online] 50(12), p 937-941. [viewed 06/04/2018]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26887879

Mayo Clinic. (2015). Kegel exercises: A how-to guide for women. [online]. Mayo Clinic, 2015 [viewed 06/04/2018]. Available from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/womens-health/in-depth/kegel-exercises/art-20045283

National Childbirth Trust, NCT. (2014) Pelvic floor exercises how-to guide: Pregnancy & beyond [online] National Childbirth Trust, 2014 [viewed 05/04/2018]. Available from: https://www.nct.org.uk/pregnancy/pelvic-floor-exercises-during-and-after-pregnancy

National Continence Helpline. (2010).06 Pelvic Floor Muscle Training For Women: What Are The Pelvic Floor Muscles? [online] National Continence Helpline, 2010 [viewed 06/04/2018]. Available from: http://www.bladderbowel.gov.au/assets/doc/brochures/06pelvicfloorwomen.html

NHS. (2017) What are pelvic floor exercises? [online] NHS, 2017 [viewed 06/04/2018]. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/1063.aspx?CategoryID=52&SubCategoryID=146