Working your pelvic floor
Although it is hidden from view, your pelvic floor muscles can be consciously controlled and therefore trained, much like your arm, leg or abdominal (tummy) muscles. Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles will help you to actively support your bladder and bowel. This improves bladder and bowel control and reduce the likelihood of accidentally leaking from your bladder or bowel. Like other muscles in your body, your pelvic floor muscles will become stronger with a regular exercise program. This is important for both men and women.
Speak to a continence professional who can assess your pelvic floor and develop an individualised pelvic floor muscle training program for you.
The benefits of pelvic floor muscle exercises
Pelvic floor muscle exercises can help:
- improve bladder and bowel control
- reduce the risk of prolapse
- in women, this may be felt as a bulge in the vagina or a feeling of heaviness, discomfort, pulling, dragging or dropping
- in men, this may be felt as a bulge in the rectum or a feeling of needing to use their bowels but not actually needing to go
- improve recovery from childbirth and gynaecological surgery (in women)
- improve recovery after prostate surgery (in men)
- increase sexual sensation and orgasmic potential
- increase social confidence and quality of life
Before starting a pelvic floor muscle training program it is important that you can identify your pelvic floor muscles correctly. Speak to a continence professional if you have difficulty identifying your pelvic floor muscles, are unsure if you are performing the exercises correctly or are continuing to experience bladder or bowel control symptoms.
It is best to have a continence professional assess your pelvic floor and develop an individualised pelvic floor muscle training program for you.
Exercising your pelvic floor
To learn more about how to correctly exercise your pelvic floor muscles follow the links below:
- Pelvic floor muscle exercises – Easy English [PDF download]