Pelvic Floor Exercises

Pregnancy, childbirth, being overweight and other reasons can weaken pelvic muscles and cause bladder control problems. When these muscles become weak, you can help make them strong again through exercise just like any other muscles in the body. Exercising your pelvic floor muscles for just five minutes three times a day can make a big difference to your bladder control. Here are a few tips for you to consider.

This is very important. Your doctor or nurse will help make sure you are doing the exercises the right way. You should tighten the two major muscles that stretch across your pelvic floor. They are the "hammock" muscle and the "triangle" muscle. Here are three methods to check for the correct muscles.

  • Try to stop the flow of urine when you are sitting on the toilet. If you can do it, you are using the right muscles.
  • Imagine that you are trying to stop passing gas. Squeeze the muscle you would use. If you sense a "pulling" feeling, those are the right muscles for pelvic exercises.
  • If you're a female, lie down and put your finger inside your vagina. Squeeze as if you were trying to stop urine from coming out. If you feel tightness on your finger, you are squeezing the right pelvic muscle.
Be careful not to tighten your stomach, legs, or other muscles. Squeezing the wrong muscles can put more pressure on your bladder control muscles. Just squeeze the pelvic muscles. Don't hold your breath.
At first, find a quiet spot to practice-your bathroom or bedroom-so you can concentrate. Lie on the floor. Pull in the pelvic muscles and hold for a count of 3. Then relax for a count of 3. Work up to 10 to 15 repeats each time you exercise.
Every day, use three positions: Lying, sitting, and standing. You can exercise while on the floor, sitting at a desk, or standing in the kitchen. Using all three positions makes the muscles strongest.
Don't give up. It's just 5 minutes, three times a day. You may not feel your bladder control improve until after 3 to 6 weeks. Still, most women do notice an improvement after a few weeks.
You can also exercise by using special weights or biofeedback. Ask your healthcare team about these exercise aids.