What is the Home Test for the Pelvic Floor Muscles for Women?
The home test for the pelvic floor muscles for women is a test you can do in the privacy of your own home. The purpose of the home test is to self check the strength of your pelvic floor muscles. Below are some guidelines:
- laying on your back
- insert 2 fingers inside your vagina to your middle knuckle
- spread your fingers apart
- engage your pelvic floor muscles and try to squeeze your fingers together and draw them upwards (as if towards your head)
Ideally you want to be able to squeeze inwards and draw upwards and hold for 10 seconds with a consistent contraction; no flickering on and off. If you feel your pelvic floor muscles a bit but can’t quite squeeze inwards very much and/or don’t feel a drawing upwards, then you need to work on improving the strength of these muscles. Do this exact exercise, fingers no longer needed, and work up to achieving a 10 second consistent hold for 10 reps and complete 2 sets. Perform this twice daily. If you have barely any contraction, don’t include a hold. Just try and feel the contraction, let it go and try and feel the release of these muscles. Progression of the exercises depends on what someones goals are but tend to include functional and sport/activity specific movements.
If the pelvic floor muscles have too much tone in them, they may feel very strong. This is a false strength though. If this is the case, strengthening is not the best option until these pelvic floor muscles know how to relax as well. Release exercises would be more appropriate.
How will you know?
Best case scenario is to have a pelvic floor physiotherapist check and then you will know for sure. If this isn’t possible, then you can ask yourself these questions:
- Do you have pain with intercourse, tampon insertion or during PAP tests? Pain with any of these may indicate muscles that are too tight.
- When you inserted your fingers, could you easily put 2 fingers in? Or, could you only put 1 finger in? When you tried to separate your fingers, was it easy, or was it very compressed? You should be able to insert a couple of fingers and open them up without a massive amount of resistance from your pelvic floor. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it is too roomy inside; it just means that your pelvic floor muscles are able to release as well as contract which is super important for overall pelvic health.