Pelvic Floor Self-Assessment

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Equipment: a small towel or washcloth

Popular wisdom tells us that kegels are the one true exercise for maintaining a healthy pelvic floor. But *record scratch* that's not necessarily true—in fact, sometimes we need to lengthen before we even think about strengthening. That's where the Pelvic Floor Self-Assessment comes in.

An overactive pelvic floor indicates that the pelvic floor doesn't have much range of motion, meaning it needs lengthening (stretching) and then stabilizing (strengthening). You may have an overactive pelvic floor if:

  • You can't really feel your pelvic floor lifting off of the towel when you contract your pelvic floor muscles AND
  • Upon relaxation of the pelvic floor contraction, you can't really feel your perineum come back down onto the towel OR
  • When you performed a "bulge" or beared down into the towel, you weren't able to lengthen your muscles into the towel

An underactive pelvic floor indicates that the pelvic floor is able to relax, but cannot fully contract. This means it needs some stabilization or strengthening. You may have an underactive pelvic floor if:

  • You can't really feel your pelvic floor lifting off of the towel when you contract your pelvic floor muscles AND
  • Upon relaxation of the pelvic floor contraction, you can feel your perineum come back down onto the towel AND
  • When you performed a "bulge" or beared down into the towel, you were able to lengthen your muscles into the towel

While this is a good starting place, we always recommend checking in with a pelvic floor physical therapist for a personalized assessment and treatment program.

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