pelvic-floorThe pelvic floor muscles are a small but very important group of muscles, particularly in women. They lie deep inside the pelvis and act to support the pelvic organs and control continence. Pelvic floor muscles can be weakened by pregnancy and childbirth, continual constipation, persistent heavy lifting, a chronic cough, being overweight, age or lack of general fitness.


The benefits of Pelvic Floor Exercises

Women with stress incontinence; that is, those who regularly lose urine when coughing, sneezing or exercising, should especially benefit from these exercises.

For pregnant women, these exercises help the body cope with the increasing weight of the baby. Healthy, fit muscles pre-natally will recover more readily after the birth.

As women grow older it is important to keep the pelvic floor muscles strong because at menopause the muscles change and may weaken. A pelvic floor exercise routine helps to minimise the effects of menopause on pelvic support and bladder control.

Pelvic floor exercises may also be useful in conjunction with a bladder training program aimed at improving bladder control in people who experience urge incontinence.

Exercises for everyday

To begin, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet supported but apart.

Exercise 1: Long hold

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  • Squeeze around your back passage and your vagina (like you are trying to stop yourself passing wind or urinating) and try to lift the pelvic floor up
  • Hold this exercise for 2 to 3 seconds whilst keeping your abdominal, buttock and thigh muscles relaxed
  • Continue to breathe normally
  • Relax for five seconds, then repeat this exercise 3 to 5 more times
  • Repeat the exercise 4 times a day
  • As your pelvic floor muscles get stronger, make the exercise more challenging by increasing the number of exercises and the hold time of each exercise to 10×10 seconds. You can also perform these exercises sitting, standing and during activities such as lifting and walking
  • Always stop exercising when the muscle feels tired


Exercise 2: Quick squeeze

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  • Tighten the pelvic floor muscles as above this time holding the exercise for only one second
  • Try to repeat 10 to 20 quick strong squeezes, four times a day