1st Myth: “A quick clench can do it”

Fact: There’s a common view that if you quickly clench your muscles whilst standing at the bus stop, sitting in the car, or waiting for the kettle to boil, that’s all you have to do.

Although my technique for exercising the pelvic floor is fairly easy, it isn’t that easy! There’s more to it than a quick clench. Leaving aside the question of whether or not you are clenching the right muscles, and how often these exercises should be repeated, a key problem with the ‘quick clench’ approach is the idea that it can be done in a vertical position: either standing or sitting.

Vertical positions are NOT recommended when doing pelvic floor exercises. Standing or sitting impedes the flow of blood in the lower abdominal area. If blood pools up in the pelvic veins this can lead to haemorrhoids and/ or varicose veins: in the vagina or vulva in women, the penis or testicles in men. Also, when you are in a vertical pose the weight of your abdominal organs puts pressure on the pelvic floor muscles. This means you can’t contract your muscles as much as you could in a horizontal pose; plus muscle relaxation will not be as effective.

Livia Nemeth