How to do pelvic floor exercises

Where do I start?

First you need to find the right muscles. The best way to do this is to try and stop the flow of urine when you got to the toilet. If you can manage to do this then the muscles you used are the right ones for pelvic floor exercises. However, this is only a test, don't make a habit of holding in your urine!

When contracting these muscles it should feel as though you’re squeezing and lifting them slightly up into the body. There shouldn't be any tensing of the buttocks or thighs, although tightening your anus can help (as if holding in wind).

If you’re having trouble identifying the right muscles then speak to your doctor, nurse or physiotherapist for additional help.

Once you’ve found the right muscles, you can start exercising them several times a day (30-40 repetitions in total). You should find you can do these in many different positions: sitting, standing, lying down – and no one will know what you're doing!

How do I do the exercises?

At first, just hold and squeeze your muscles for a second or two. Then gradually build it up to 10 seconds. Repeat as often as you can, building up to 10 repetitions.

Rest between squeezes for the same amount of time as you have contracted your muscles, i.e. rest for 10 seconds after holding for 10 seconds.
o You can also try some fast, hard contractions where you squeeze as hard as you can, then let go straight away. Again, repeat up to 10 times.

As well as doing these exercises several times a day, you should also squeeze your pelvic floor muscles when you need them, eg, laughing, coughing, bending or anything that makes you leak urine.

How long will it be before I notice a difference?

Carry on doing your pelvic floor exercises for several months. You should notice a difference within 2-4 months of regular exercise but physiotherapists recommend you continue for around 6 months.

Once you’ve got your incontinence under control you can then reduce the number of times you need to do these exercises. However, we recommend you carry on using these muscles every day, when you need them, to keep them working effectively.


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