When your monthly menstrual cycle brings lingering or intense menstrual pain, it can be difficult to carry out normal activities. Even though you might like to slow down the pace, life’s demands often require that you move forward. What if you could get a step ahead of your menstrual pain and pelvic pain — starting with Kegel exercises?
Power to the pelvic floor
Now, now … you may have an incomplete or even inaccurate picture of how Kegels can strengthen the female body. Done properly, Kegel exercises can improve overall pelvic health and reduce pelvic pain. While it’s true Kegels can improve leaky bladders and increase pleasurable sensations, this limited description doesn’t fully reflect the empowerment with these pelvic floor exercises.
Why Kegels are so helpful
The National Academy of Sports Medicine indicates Kegels can reduce period pain and inflammation by relaxing the uterus and strengthening what’s called the pelvic floor. This is a collective group of muscles and tissues that sit like a hammock at the bottom of your pelvis, supporting the uterus, bladder, small intestine, and rectum.
A weakened pelvic floor can occur with the following:
- Pregnancy and childbirth
- Straining from constipation
- Excessive coughing or sneezing
- Being overweight
Kegels improve overall pelvic health, relieve constipation or irritable bowel syndrome, improve bladder control, hip stability, and lower back pain. Additionally, Kegels don’t require exercise equipment and can be done discreetly anywhere: lying down, sitting, or standing.
How to do Kegel exercises
Kegels are as simple as identifying the right muscles, perfecting your technique, and doing short repetitions up to three times a day, according to Mayo Clinic.
As a means of consciously using your pelvic floor muscles, during your next bathroom break, try to stop urinating midstream. The muscles used in that situation are the same ones you will contract and relax throughout Kegels. However, Kegels aren’t recommended as an ongoing exercise during urination, as it can result in infection.
Mayo Clinic suggests holding the muscle contraction for five seconds, then relaxing for five seconds. Repeat this four or five times in a row. Mayo Clinic recommends slowly building toward 10-second intervals for at least three sets of 10 repetitions daily.
Additional pelvic pain relief solutions
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website lists these additional pain relief practices for reducing menstrual or pelvic pain:
- Good posture and regular, light aerobic exercise
- Over-the-counter pain relief medications
- Heating pads
- Nutrition therapy: Vitamin B1 and magnesium
- Acupuncture, acupressure, or nerve stimulation therapies
NeoRelief for Menstrual Pain and Cramps offers over-the-counter, alternative pain relief through the use of active botanicals and minerals. NeoRelief’s topical gel is a gentle formula that soothes period cramps, pelvic pain, and inflammation.
Persistent pelvic pain
Caring for your pelvic health and listening to the cues your body sends is important toward long-term health. If your pelvic pain occurs around the same time every month, during your period, it likely is related to your menstrual cycle. However, pelvic pain also can be gastrointestinal, urological, or musculoskeletal in nature (e.g. fibromyalgia), or it could be related to another gynecological condition (e.g. endometriosis, uterine fibroids, tumors, cysts). Stress, depression, and food allergies also have been known to cause pelvic pain, through increased inflammation.
As with most persistent pain, prolonged pelvic pain can result in difficulty sleeping, moodiness, and decreased quality of life, especially when the pain prevents you from wanting to be active or social. Speak with your doctor if your pelvic pain disrupts your daily life or ability to work, or if your symptoms seem to be getting worse.
Serious menstrual cramps … seriously