Back
How exercises can help?
Caregivers & Professionals

WHAT IS THE PELVIC FLOOR AND WHERE IS IT?


The pelvic floor muscles are a group of muscles that extend from your tail bone (coccyx) at the back to your pubic bone at the front. They wrap around the underside of the bladder and rectum, supporting them in their correct position. In women, the pelvic floor muscles also support the womb. In both sexes the muscles of the pelvic floor play an important role in ensuring the urethra (water pipe) and the rectum (back passage) close effectively.


HOW THE PELVIC FLOOR WORKS


The muscles of the pelvic floor are kept firm and slightly tense to stop leakage of urine from the bladder or faeces from the bowel. When you pass water or have a bowel motion the pelvic floor muscles relax. Afterwards, they tighten again to restore control.


WHY DO THE PELVIC FLOOR MUSCLES GET WEAK?


In both sexes, pelvic  floor muscles can become weak due to a range of factors including:


  • A general lack of exercise 
  • Ageing
  • Repeated straining during bowel opening
  • Repeated heavy lifting  
  • Chronic cough
  • Obesity
  • Neurological damage e.g after a stroke

  • Women often find that pelvic floor muscles are damaged during childbirth which can contribute to both urinary and faecal incontinence.


    HOW PELVIC FLOOR EXERCISES CAN HELP


    Pelvic floor exercises can strengthen these muscles so that they once again give support. This will improve your bladder control and improve or stop leakage of urine. Like any other muscles in the body, the more you use and exercise them, the stronger the pelvic floor will be.


    PELVIC FLOOR EXERCISES TO TREAT STRESS INCONTINENCE


    It is important that you exercise the correct muscles. Your doctor may refer you to a continence advisor or physiotherapist for advice on the exercises. There are two types of muscle fibres within the pelvic floor; slow twitch and fast twitch fibres. They respond in different ways depending on the type of activities you are carrying out during the day. It is important you perform exercises that strengthen both.


    You need to do the exercises every day.


    PELVIC FLOOR EXERCISES FOR WOMEN


    LEARNING TO EXERCISE THE RIGHT MUSCLES


    Sit or lie comfortably with the muscles of your thighs, buttocks, and abdomen relaxed.


    Tighten the ring of muscle around the back passage as if you are trying to control diarrhea or wind. Relax this muscle again. Practice this movement several times until you are sure you are exercising the correct muscles. Try not to squeeze your buttocks or tighten your thighs.


    Now imagine you are passing urine and are trying to stop the stream. You will find yourself using slightly different parts of the pelvic floor muscles to the first exercise (ones nearer the front). These are the ones to strengthen.


    The number of muscle squeezes you perform each day will depend on how well your muscles can move and how strong they are.


    Find three to four regular times during the day to do the exercises e.g. after getting off the toilet, when having a drink or when lying in bed. Tightening the pelvic floor muscles before you get up from a chair, cough or lift anything heavy will also help.


    In addition to the times you set aside to do the exercises, try to get into the habit of doing exercises whilst going about everyday life. For example, when answering the phone, when washing up etc.


    After several weeks the muscles will start to feel stronger. You may find you can squeeze the pelvic floor muscles for much longer without the muscles feeling tired.


    However, it may take up to 3 months to achieve the desired results. If you see little or no change, please contact a Healthcare Professional.


    Please contact the Bladder and Bowel Foundation for a detailed Fact Sheet on how to do your pelvic floor exercises (for women).   

    www.bladderandbowelfoundation.org 


    PELVIC FLOOR EXERCISES FOR MEN


    LEARNING TO EXERCISE THE RIGHT MUSCLES


    Sit or lie comfortably with the muscles of your thighs, buttocks and abdomen relaxed.


    Tighten the ring of muscle around the back passage as if you are trying to control diarrhea or wind. Relax this muscle again. Practice this movement several times until you are sure you are exercising the correct muscles. Try not to squeeze your buttocks or tighten your thighs.


    If your technique is correct you will feel the base of your penis move upwards slightly towards your tummy. You may notice that your penis withdraws and that your scrotum lifts.


    The number of muscle squeezes you perform each day will depend on how well your muscles can move and how strong they are.


    Find three to four regular times during the day to do the exercises e.g. after getting off the toilet, when having a drink or when lying in bed. Tightening the pelvic floor muscles before you get up from a chair, cough or lift anything heavy will also help.


    In addition to the times, you set aside to do the exercises, try to get into the habit of doing exercises whilst going about everyday life. For example, when answering the phone, when washing up etc.


    After several weeks the muscles will start to feel stronger. You may find you can squeeze the pelvic floor muscles for much longer without the muscles feeling tired.


    However, it may take up to 3 months to achieve the desired results. If you see little or no change, please contact a Healthcare Professional.


    Please contact the Bladder and Bowel Foundation for a detailed Fact Sheet on how to do your pelvic oor exercises (for men).

    www.bladderandbowelfoundation.org 


    Related Articles
    What is incontinence?
    THE WORD INCONTINENCE OFTEN MEANS DIFFERENT THINGS TO DIFFERENT PEOPLE. AS WITH ALL HEALTHCARE PROBLEMS IT IS IMPORTANT WE ARE ALL CLEAR ABOUT WHAT WE MEAN WHEN WE SAY SOMEONE IS INCONTINENT.
    More Info
    How do I care for my skin?
    YOUR SKIN CAN BE DAMAGED IF YOU DON’T TAKE CARE OF IT. SKIN PROBLEMS ARE MORE LIKELY TO OCCUR IF YOU SUFFER FROM BOTH URINARY AND FAECAL INCONTINENCE OR IF YOU HAVE VERY LOOSE STOOLS.
    More Info
    What do I do in case of leakages?
    IF URINE LEAKS ON TO YOUR CLOTHES
    More Info
    By clicking on "Accept", you accept the use of cookies to improve the quality of your visit, offer you adapted services and offers as well as social sharing options. To find out more and configure your choice, click here
    Мы полагаем Вы из России?
    START