Pelvic Floor Exercises
If you’re a woman with poor bladder or bowel control – and perhaps you’ve had this problem for some years – the time has never been better to do something about it. While you should talk to someone sooner rather than later, at any life-stage your situation can usually be improved. For example, being guided by a Continence Physiotherapist (who specialises in pelvic floor rehabilitation and kegel exercises) is an option for women of all ages with bladder leakage due to stress incontinence. Research shows a cure rate of 84% for women working with a Continence Physio for this problem.
An introduction to “polishing up your pelvic floor muscles” and how to do kegel exercises
- Stand, lie or sit straight
- Relax your thigh, bottom and lower tummy muscles
- Draw in the muscles (kegels) around your front passage (vagina) and then relax them
- Draw in the muscles around the back passage (anus) and then relax them
When you do pelvic floor exercises:
FEEL the muscles contract – and then relax
FEEL a lift-and-squeeze inside your pelvis
FEEL a letting-go when you relax your muscles (very important!)
– Relax chest, tummy and ribs throughout
– Keep breathing even and normal
Once you can do these pelvic floor exercises:
- Hold the lift-and-squeeze for longer (say, 3 seconds)
- Build up over time to about 10 seconds
- Feel the muscle “let go” each time while breathing normally and evenly
- Follow with 3 quick squeezes, relaxing fully between each one
- Repeat this 3 times, resting between each set
Slowly build this up to 10 times in a row, keeping your technique perfect.
Aim to repeat the exercise set 3 times every day especially if your muscles are weak, and consider purchasing kegel exercise weights for an enhanced workout.
Anne Ramus from Continence Foundation of Australia and Di Edmonds – Physiotherapist with a special interest in Continence and Women’s Health, Director/Founder of The Pregnancy Centre