How to Measure
The Pelvic Floor Muscle
Measuring the pelvic floor muscle is necessary to determine the correct treatment. If the muscle is weak, you would need strength training. This includes performing the
contraction correctly, how long the muscle holds, how many repetitions and how many times per day the exercises are done. What position you do the exercises and how to coordinate the contraction during activities of your day.
If the muscle is in spasm, you need relaxation training. It is harder to learn relaxation and relaxation training often requires some form of feedback.
There are several ways to measure the pelvic floor muscles – each method gives different information and all are valuable. Often it is helpful to measure the muscle with two, three or all four methods over the course of your therapy. You and the physical therapist will discuss which method(s) are right for you. The measurements allow you to see the muscle activity and make sure you are doing the exercises correctly.
Measurements on the outside of the body
- Watching the rectal and / or vaginal area during pelvic floor muscle squeeze and relax. It
may be helpful for you to learn how to watch your own muscles in a mirror in order to
check yourself at home.
- Touching the pelvic floor tissue outside the body for pain, numbness, and spasm
- EMG measurement with adhesive patches on the outside of the rectum gives good
information about the activation and endurance of the muscle.
- Imaging ultrasound just above the pubic bone, on the perineum (the area between the
testicals and the rectum), or at the entrance to the vagina gives important information
about which part of the pelvic floor muscle is activating.
Measurements inside the vaginal and / or the rectum
- Touching inside the vaginal and / or rectal canal – this method is the gold standard in
assessment of the muscle and gives valuable information about the size, pain, and ability
of the muscle to contract and relax. It is not possible for all patients.
- EMG measurement with a vaginal or rectal sensor – using a sensor provides the most
accurate information about the muscle.