How to Check If You Have Weak Pelvic Floor Muscles
Your pelvic floor muscles might be weak and you don’t know it. Due to intimate nature of this problem women struggle with symptoms that are related to pelvic floor weakness without realizing it. However, once you identify the problem and causes then you can find the solutions.
Having weak pelvic muscles can cause problems not only when you are urinating or passing stool but also during intimacy. It can make you feel self conscious and embarrassed. You would be surprise to know that, many women suffer from symptoms associated with pelvic floor weakness.
But even if you don’t have symptoms, knowing how to check your pelvic floor strength will benefit you immensely.
Before discussing the tests you self check your pelvic floor muscles, here are some important things you should know.
First, your pelvic floor support your bladder uterus and rectum. Therefore, the symptoms you have will be linked back to one or more of these organs.
Signs of Weak Pelvic Muscles
The main role of your pelvic muscles is to provide support to the pelvic organs. They also help with stability by assisting the muscles of the back, hip, and abdomen during movement. These muscles aid in the contraction and relaxation of the muscles of your anus and urethra to prevent leakage, too.
Considering their functions, the main signs of weak pelvic muscles include:
- Leaking urine when sneezing, running, coughing, and laughing
- Passing wind from the vagina and anus while lifting or bending
- Decreased vaginal sensations
- Having a distinct bulge at the opening of the vagina.
- Having tampons falling out easily
- Inability to reach the toilet in time
- Feeling a sense of heaviness in the vagina
How to Check the Strength of Your Pelvic Floor Muscles
If you have any of those signs or you simply feel that there’s something wrong with your pelvic floor muscles, there are a couple of ways to check the strength of your pelvic floor muscles.
Using a mirror
Have a mirror placed in between your legs. It should be positioned in a way that allows you to see the opening of your vagina. As you contract your pelvic muscles, you should see the vaginal opening lifting and moving upwards.
Using your fingers
If a tampon isn’t available, you can do the same test using your fingers. Put one or two fingers inside your vagina. Once you tighten the muscles in the area, you should feel them squeezing your fingers.
While you’re on the toilet, try to hold the flow of your urine. If you’ve successfully stopped the flow, then you probably don’t have problems with the strength of your pelvic floor muscles.
Using a tampon
Get a piece of tampon and lubricate it before placing it inside your vagina. Once inside, tighten your pelvic floor muscles. Pull the string and see if you can feel any resistance.
However, because urinating is a serious and complex reflex, you shouldn’t repeat this test several times a day. It can end up not working soon.
Holding a fart
This might sound absurd but your ability to hold your fart can be a good sign that you have good pelvic muscle strength.
During Sexual Intercourse
You can also test the strength of your pelvic floor muscles while you are being intimate with your partner. With a penis or finger inside the vagina, gently contract your pelvic floor muscles. Ask him how it feels. How does it feel to you?
Other Tests for Diagnosing Pelvic Floor Disorders and Weakness
If you aren’t confident in assessing the strength of your pelvic muscles on your own, you can see your doctor or health care provider and get tests done. Usually, a physical exam should be enough to diagnose weak pelvic muscles.
To help confirm the diagnosis or to aid in treatment, the following tests can be done:
Dynamic defecography- This is a test that evaluates the rectum and pelvic floor while you are having a bowel movement.
Anal manometry- This is the recommended test for evaluating the strength of the muscles of your anal sphincters.
Endoanal ultrasound- With the use of soundwaves, this test creates the anal sphincter muscles’ picture. The image produced by this test can be used to evaluate the area.
Cystoscopy- This test allows visualization of the urethra and bladder from the inside.
If You Did Not Know
If not addressed, pelvic floor weakness will get worse over time. When then happens, the organs in your pelvic region can fallout through your vagina. This phenomenon is known as Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP). When this happens, surgery is eminent.
You can be proactive and strengthen your pelvic floor by doing Kegels. To make Kegels more challenging, you can add Kegel weights. There are also plenty of devices on the market that help you train and strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.