Incorporating Biofeedback Into Your Pelvic Floor Strengthening Routine

Incorporating biofeedback into your pelvic floor STRENGTHENING routine 

Incorporating biofeedback into your pelvic floor STRENGTHENING routine 

The pelvic floor is made up of a series of muscles that act as a “sling” and support different organs in the body.  Keeping those muscles strong is important for a host of reasons – they help to prevent prolapse, reduce or prevent the symptoms of incontinence, and can even lead to more satisfying sex.  But how do you strengthen those muscles?  And how do you know what you are doing is effective for the long run?

We recommend starting your pelvic floor exercise search with a trained physical therapist (PT) specializing in women’s health.  Your PT will educate you on what muscles connect to the pelvic floor (there are 45!) and how to work all of them in order to keep things working properly.  Many people know of kegels but are unaware of the variety-- and combination-- of workouts that can benefit the pelvic floor. Because the pelvic floor connects to so many other muscles in the body, a workout plan that incorporates strengthening all of these muscles will ensure that you are not placing too big of a strain on any one muscle group.

In addition to specific movements or workouts, your PT may also incorporate biofeedback into your sessions. Biofeedback is a system that reports how well you are performing kegel contractions and can be an indicator of how strong your pelvic muscles are. 

Biofeedback is a great way to actually see how you’re performing in the moment.  Typically, a probe is inserted into the vagina, and sensors on the probe relay information back to a screen or meter.  When you contract your pelvic floor muscles, a reading appears on the screen that tells you how tightly you are squeezing, and for how long. 

Talk to your doctor about biofeedback to see if it might be an option for you.

Nerve Stimulation and Other In-Office Treatment Options For Incontinence

Nerve Stimulation And Other Treatment Options For Incontinence

There are numerous ways to get treatment for bladder and bowel incontinence within the walls of your doctor’s office and your own home.

Biofeedback is a treatment option for individuals needing assistance understanding where and how to activate their pelvic floor. Sessions of biofeedback are primarily composed of two types of sensors that are placed on the body to measure muscle activity by detecting and recording electrical activity. Patients work with biofeedback therapists to flex and relax muscles to gauge muscle strength, and also help the patient become aware of activating these specific muscles. By better identifying these muscles and learning how to activate them, patients learn how to more easily control their incontinence.

Pelvic floor stimulation is another in-office procedure that helps women with Stress Urinary Incontinence contract and strengthen their pelvic floor. Small amounts of electrical stimulation are delivered to the nerves and muscles of the pelvic floor. Learn more about this process and talk to your doctor to determine if it’s right for you.

Bladder retraining is right in line with adjusting dietary and exercise regimens. Bladder retraining requires individuals with urge incontinence to phase in or out additional trips to the bathroom and practice delaying urination. This form of treatment isn’t recommended for everyone and should be practiced when advised by your doctor. Find the right specialist using our physician locator here.

What in-office or at-home treatments have you tried and liked?

What is Biofeedback?

Biofeedback is a treatment option for individuals needing assistance understanding where and how to activate their pelvic floor.

Biofeedback treatment is primarily composed of two types of sensors that are placed on the body to measure muscle activity by detecting and recording electrical activity. Patients work with biofeedback therapists to flex and relax muscles to gauge muscle strength, and also help the patient become aware of activating these specific muscles. By better identifying these muscles and learning how to activate them, patients learn how to more easily control their incontinence.

what is biofeedback

Two types of sensors can be used in biofeedback therapy and both are effective in measuring muscle activity. Either small tampon-like sensors are placed in the vagina or an external “stick-on” type of sensor can be placed just outside the anal opening. The most common error that some individuals make in performing pelvic floor muscle exercises is using their abdominal muscles instead of the pelvic floor muscles.

While this whole thing may sound a bit intrusive, improvement in symptoms may be seen in as little as three sessions. With biofeedback, you can learn to stop using the wrong muscles and start using the correct ones.

If this treatment interests you or you’d like to talk to a specialist about this treatment option, click here to find a NAFC-approved specialist.

And if you’re still a little uncomfortable discussing the subject for your own treatment but want to learn more, click here to ask people in our community who have been there before.