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4 exercices pour la rééducation de votre périnée
Périnée

4 exercises to rehabilitate your perineum

The perineum is a complex, diamond-shaped collection of muscles, ligaments and fascia that extends from the pubis to the tailbone. It is a kind of hammock that forms the pelvic floor which provides support for the genitals, rectum, bladder and viscera. If both men and women have a perineum, it is particularly known in women due to pregnancy then childbirth: under the effect of hormonal impregnation, the weight of the fetus and during expulsion, it is 'is stretched. For a majority of women who have given birth, it is essential to undergo perineal rehabilitation . Why, how does perineal rehabilitation work? In today's article, we talk to you about rehabilitation and we offer you 4 exercises to re-educate your perineum.

Why strengthen and re-educate your perineum?

The perineum is an essential muscle for the body which is put to the test during pregnancy and childbirth but also during menopause. This is why it is essential to strengthen it and re-educate it following childbirth!

The essential role of the perineum

The perineum has three major roles in the proper functioning of your body:

  • pelvic floor : it serves as support for your genitals, rectum, bladder and viscera;
  • role in urinary and anal continence : being able to contract it allows you to refrain from urinating and defecating;
  • role in sexual pleasure (yours and that of your male partners during penetration): the muscles of the perineum tighten the outer third of the vagina and increase its angle, which accentuates the sensations and perception of coital movements.

This is why it is essential to have a strong perineum!

Pregnancy and menopause: two turning points for the perineum

Even though we hear little about the perineum in men, it has a very special place in women and for good reason: it is used during pregnancy and childbirth and menopause weakens it.

Due to the hormonal variations which agitate the body of women during pregnancy, the weight of the baby which weighs on the pelvic floor, the place taken by the baby which disturbs the organs of the abdominal region and the trauma of childbirth, the perineum is your ally during pregnancy. He emerges from this experienced and often very relaxed episode. This results in the risk for new mothers of organs descending or even protruding : under the pressure of the organs, they come out of the body and need to be replaced using a surgical operation!

Besides pregnancy and childbirth, menopause is a second turning point for the female perineum. When estrogen levels decline during menopause, the tissues of the vulva, vagina and urethra may thin and lose elasticity, lubrication of the vagina decreases, and the muscles of the perineum thin and become less flexible. . In addition to being a source of pain during sexual intercourse , this situation can lead postmenopausal women to find themselves faced with the need to urinate more often or even suffer from incontinence – a potential symptom of menopause .

The importance of rehabilitation

Perineal rehabilitation, which consists of working the muscles of the perineum to strengthen it , aims to limit all of the symptoms mentioned above. By strengthening your perineum, you limit the risks linked to:

  • Organ descent: Also called pelvic prolapse, this is a condition where the pelvic organs, such as the bladder, uterus, rectum or vaginal vault, can descend or protrude into the vagina. Strengthening your perineum and strengthening it helps limit this risk;
  • Pain during sexual intercourse (or on the contrary feeling of feeling nothing): tense or contracted pelvic floor muscles can cause pain during sexual intercourse. This may be linked to anxiety, stress, chronic muscle tension or problems relaxing the pelvic floor muscles, especially post-pregnancy. Re-educating your perineum and re-teaching it to contract can allow you not only to limit the pain linked to sexual intercourse but to feel more pleasure;
  • Urinary and anal incontinence: the muscles of the perineum play a role in the contraction of the urethra and the sphincter and their proper functioning helps prevent incontinence.

When to start rehabilitation?

Women are generally prescribed perineal rehabilitation sessions at the end of their stay in the maternity ward. If this is not your case (perhaps simply because of an oversight by your practitioner), you can request it from the gynecologist or midwife who follows you during the postnatal visit 6 to 8 weeks after the 'childbirth. These sessions are 100% reimbursed by Social Security. if you need additional sessions, they will be reimbursed, this time, at 60%. Also note, perineal rehabilitation can be supplemented by abdominal rehabilitation.

💡 Strengthening your perineum isn't just for women who have recently given birth! You can strengthen your perineum, and strengthen it through exercises, throughout your life, as a preventative measure or whenever you feel perineal weakness.

How does perineal rehabilitation work?

Perineal rehabilitation sessions take place with a midwife or specialist physiotherapist who has received the necessary training. Don't hesitate to ask your gynecologist or midwife to recommend someone. We have also put together a directory of caring practitioners recommended by other women in our community to help you make your choice.

🌈 Post-partum, we offer you the Louvz brand perineum repair serum on our e-shop. You can use it to promote healing one week after childbirth and then as a massage from three weeks after childbirth – provided that your scar is clean.

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There are three perineal rehabilitation techniques, most often used together. The specialist decides which method(s) work best. The first is manual. The therapist uses only his fingers: he inserts them into the vagina to exert pressure on the perineum, test its resistance and re-muscle it. You should contract your perineum for a few seconds in response, when requested.

The second is the electrostimulation technique. It allows, thanks to a probe connected to a device and inserted into the vagina (or even the anus), to send a low intensity current to stimulate the nerves of the perineum. It is particularly suitable for those who suffer from pain after an episiotomy or tears.

The third technique is the most recent. This is biofeedback. She also uses a probe, but without electrical stimulation. You visualize the effectiveness of the contraction of your perineum thanks to a curve which is drawn on a screen or through light signals.

🌈 On our e-shop, we offer you a perineal strengthening probe without electrostimulation. Connected to an application, it helps you strengthen your perineum.

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4 exercises to re-educate your perineum

In addition to this perineal rehabilitation in a doctor's office once or twice a week in the months following childbirth, the work continues at home through exercises for the perineum to be practiced for around ten minutes a day. Here are four exercises to try to re-educate your perineum.

Before you start

This will certainly seem obvious to you but we prefer to make it clear to you in advance. If you are being followed by a professional for the rehabilitation of your perineum due to specific problems, ask for their agreement and advice before practicing additional exercises.

Furthermore, if you feel pain during the following exercises, it is recommended to consult a healthcare professional and talk to them about it for personalized advice.

1. Kegel Contractions

Kegel contractions, also called Kegel exercises, aim to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. These exercises were developed by gynecologist Arnold Kegel (hence their name) to counteract weak pelvic muscles.

How to do Kegel contractions to strengthen your perineum?

The first step is to identify which pelvic floor muscles you need to work: to this end, try to stop the flow of urine when you are on the toilet. The muscles you use for this are the pelvic floor muscles. 🚩 Be careful, this first step is not an exercise but a tool to identify your muscles, do not do it repeatedly: holding back from urinating or stopping the flow of urine tends to increase the risk of urinary infections.

To practice Kegel contractions:

  1. Choose a comfortable position . You can do these exercises lying down, sitting or standing;
  2. Contract your pelvic floor muscles : squeeze them as if you were trying to stop the passage of urine or hold in gas. Keep the muscles of the abdomen, buttocks and thighs relaxed as much as possible;
  3. Hold the contraction for a few seconds , then gently release. Start by holding the contraction for 3 to 5 seconds, then gradually increase the duration as your muscles strengthen. Make sure you relax between each contraction.

Perform a series of exercises with a set number of contractions, then gradually increase the number of contractions over time (you can start with around ten, for example). Practice these exercises several times a day , incorporating them into your daily routine. You can increase the difficulty by using weighted beads for more sensations.

🌈 On our e-shop, find weighted perineal beads from the Lelo brand to accompany you in your Kegel exercises. Made of silicone and ABS plastic, they help build muscle and strengthen your perineum. Pair it with a water-based lubricant from MyLubie for smooth exercises.

2. The bridge

The bridge exercise is an exercise that can help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles , particularly the gluteus maximus muscle. Although this exercise does not specifically target the perineum, it can help strengthen the pelvic region as a whole.

To practice the bridge exercise and strengthen your perineum:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Place your arms alongside your body, palms down. We recommend that you practice on a floor mat or on your bed, if your mattress is firm: the softness of a mattress risks destabilizing you;
  2. Contract the abdominal muscles to stabilize the spine. Make sure your back is in contact with the ground;
  3. As you inhale, push your hips toward the ceiling , lifting your pelvis off the floor. Continue to rise until your body forms a straight line from shoulders to knees. You should feel a contraction in your buttocks muscles and lower back muscles. Do not force the high position: make sure to maintain a straight body line and avoid excessively arching your lower back;
  4. Hold the position for a few seconds , continuing to breathe normally. You can contract the gluteal muscles to maximize muscle activation;
  5. As you exhale, slowly lower your hips back to the starting position

Repeat the movement for the desired number of repetitions and increase the repetitions gradually over time: for example, you can start with a small number of repetitions (for example, 10 to 15).

3. Squats

The squat is a versatile exercise that involves multiple muscle groups, including your lower body muscles and the pelvic floor. It can contribute to the overall strengthening of the pelvic region, including the muscles of the perineum.

To practice the squat exercise and re-educate your perineum:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart , toes slightly turned out;
  2. Contract the abdominal muscles: this is to stabilize the spine. Keep your back straight and your shoulders back;
  3. As you inhale, slowly bend your knees and hips to lower yourself into a squat position. Go as low as you can while maintaining proper form. Make sure your knees do not extend past your toes.
  4. As you descend into the squat, deliberately engage the muscles of the pelvic floor , including the perineum. Imagine tightening and slightly lifting this region while maintaining the squat position.
  5. Briefly hold the lowest position of the squat , continuing to engage your pelvic floor muscles.
  6. As you exhale, push through your heels to return to the starting position. Make sure to fully extend the hips at the top of the movement.

Repeat the movement for the desired number of repetitions. Start with half a dozen squats and increase as you become comfortable with the exercise. To make the exercise more difficult, you can also decide to add weights.

4. The butterfly

The butterfly exercise, also known as the butterfly stretch, is primarily a stretching exercise that targets the muscles of the groin and inner thighs. Although it is not specifically designed to strengthen the perineum, it can help improve flexibility in the pelvic area. Since the butterfly is a stretching exercise, you can totally do it in combination after the squat exercise or the bridge exercise.

To practice the butterfly exercise and strengthen your perineum:

  1. Sit on the floor with your back straight. Bend your knees and bring them as close to your body as possible;
  2. Place the soles of your feet together, one against the other, letting your knees open to the sides;
  3. Hold your feet together with your hands , by grabbing your ankles or placing your hands on your feet;
  4. Allow your knees to naturally open out to the sides while letting your elbows gently press into your inner thighs to help accentuate the stretch. Be careful not to force the stretch. If you feel pain, reduce the range of motion;
  5. Breathe deeply and hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds, continuing to breathe regularly;
  6. Slowly return to the seated position , gently closing your knees.

Repeat the exercise several times , doing sets of stretches to improve flexibility.

🦥 Need other exercises? Watch the video of fitgirl Lucile Woodward:

5 exercises to strengthen your perineum

She gives you exercises, tips and shows you how to do them to avoid injury.

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