Women’s Health Questions- Are You Doing Kegels Properly?

It can be hard to tell… One study shows about 25% of us perform pelvic floor muscle exercises (Kegels) improperly following purely verbal cues (Bump et al, 1991). A good pelvic floor muscle contraction should feel like you are bringing together the ischial tuberosities (sitz bones) while also drawing together the pubic bone and tailbone. It should not feel you are bearing done or pushing out in any way. And muscles need oxygen! Calm, steady, abdominal breathing should be maintained throughout the contraction.

Linda Anzalone, WHNP
Are you doing your Pelvic Floor Exercise (Kegels) properly?

Another important consideration is that the muscles of the pelvic floor consist of both slow and fast switch muscle fibers. Slow twitch fibers maintain the structure and stability whereas fast twitch take care of the sphincters and orgasms. All pretty important stuff! Slow twitch muscles benefit from endurance training while fast twitch muscle fibers are strengthened by quick repetitions.

 

There are several products on the market for strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, with a whole range of prices. Prior to purchase, it can be very helpful to have your own personal trainer (Pelvic Rehabilitation Specialist) to learn how to access and strengthen your pelvic floor, as well as to assign appropriate exercises with an eye toward progression of intensity.

Linda Anzalone, WHNP
Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation Exercises

Sometimes, Kegels aren’t really what is needed for improved function. Like every other muscle in our bodies, the muscles of the pelvic floor can be strengthened or lengthened, can become weak or spasm, can get too tight and cause pain or be too lax to do the job properly. Pelvic floor dysfunction manifests in a multitude of different ways: urinary or fecal incontinence, dyspareunia (painful sex), other pelvic pain, anterior or posterior vaginal wall prolapse, low back or hip pain….

 

To find out if we can help you, we invite you for a free consultation with our Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner, Linda Anzalone. Call us at 503-287-4970.

Dyspareunia, aka Painful Sex

Many women experience some physical discomfort with sex at some point in their lives. There are multiple causes, some with relatively simple solutions and others with more complexity. Most women who have pain with intercourse find it quite distressing and many find it difficult to discuss with their partners, friends or medical providers. Often fear of the unknown or the advice from “Dr. Google” create barriers to accessing appropriate care.

Linda Anzalone, WHNP
Young woman sad

The pain of dyspareunia may be felt at entry, or more deeply in the vagina. Causes of pain with entry may be due to lack of lubrication, a vaginal infection, puedendal nerve inflammation or a muscular contraction of the vaginal introitus. Deeper pain may be from pelvic floor dysfunction, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, ovarian cysts, prolapse or other disorders.

Linda Anzalone, WHNP
Pain free sex is possible

Knowledge is power, ladies. After a clear diagnosis, most of us feel better equipped to face our challenges. Left untreated, dyspareunia can lead to lack of sexual interest, relationship issues, mental health issues… often feeding a downward spiral which is not helpful. If you are experiencing pain with sex, I urge to seek professional help. Personally, I would be honored to walk that path with you.  Please call us at 503-287-4970 for a free consultation.

Linda Anzalone WHNP
Linda Anzalone, WHNP-BC, in Nature Cures Clinic Downtown Portland, OR

Linda Anzalone, WHNP