Pelvic floor exercises
These exercises (which you might also hear referred to as “Kegel” exercises, on account of the doctor who originally developed them), are designed to strengthen certain muscles in your pelvic floor.
Once these muscles are strengthened, it is easier for the bladder to stay in place and for the urethra to stay tightly shut. You can read more about a healthy bladder and the different types of urinary incontinence here. These exercises can also help strengthen the muscles in your anus and rectum, which can help those suffering from bowel incontinence. You can read more about a healthy bowel and the different types of faecal incontinence here.
It is important that you know which particular muscles you need to train before you start. Since the exercises are different for female and male bodies, there are separate videos and tips below:
It is important to be patient when doing these exercises, as it is not always easy to find the right muscles when you start. You should be able to see results within a couple of weeks, but if not, there are some other aids that can help make them easier. Make sure you consult a healthcare professional before trying any of these additional methods, as they are not suitable for everyone.
Biofeedback is a way to monitor the effectiveness of your pelvic floor exercises, so that you can train yourself to do them properly. A machine records the contractions as you do the exercises, and displays the results on a monitor so that you can see if your squeezing is correct.
Want more practice? The following videos provide excellent guidance to help you master your technique:
Your healthcare professional can help make sure that you are doing the correct exercises for your body in the correct way. They may also recommend a tool or device that can make pelvic floor exercises easier. Biofeedback machines can be rented or bought to use at home, or training can be given by a physiotherapist or nurse at a specialist clinic.
Don’t forget – all muscles need regular exercise to stay strong. For best results, you’ll want to make pelvic floor exercises a part of your daily routine!
Do pelvic floor muscle exercises [Internet]. 2018 [cited 18 August 2020]. Available from: https://www.bladderandbowel.org/help-information/resources/pelvic-floor-exercises/.
Angelini K. Pelvic floor muscle training to manage overactive bladder and urinary incontinence. Nursing for Women’s Health. 2017;21(1):51–57.
European Guidelines on Urinary Incontinence [Internet]. 2018 [cited 18 August 2020]. Available from https://wfip.org/european-guidelines-on-urinary-incontinence/.
Bladder Control Problems (Urinary Incontinence) [Internet]. 2018 [cited 18 August 2020]. Available from: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/bladder-control-problems/treatment.