How to tighten your pelvic floor muscles
- Sit or lie comfortably with the muscles of your thighs, buttocks and abdomen relaxed.
- Tighten (and then relax) the ring of muscles around your back passage (anus) as if you are trying to control diarrhoea or wind. Practise this movement until you are able to exercise the correct muscles.
- Tighten your muscles as if you are trying to stop yourself passing urine or going to the toilet.
How to do your pelvic floor routine
- For men: tighten and draw in strongly the muscles around your rectum (back passage) and urethra (urine tube) all at once, trying to hold them up inside. Hold this contraction as you count to five and then relax. You should have a feeling of letting go as you relax. Rest for at least 10 seconds and repeat. Aim to do 10 contractions.
- For women: tighten and draw in gently the muscles around your rectum (back passage), vagina and urethra all at once, trying to hold them up inside. Hold this contraction as you count to five and then relax. You should have a feeling of letting go as you relax. Rest for at least 10 seconds and repeat. Aim to do 10 contractions.
- When doing these exercises:
- Do not hold your breath.
- Do not push down;
- Squeeze and lift up; and
- Do not tighten your buttocks or thighs
What else do you need to know?
- Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles takes time. If you have very weak muscles initially, they will fatigue easily. Don’t give up. These exercises do work if done regularly.
- These exercises should be done regularly and you can add them into your daily routine, such as after going to the toilet, when having a drink or when lying in bed.
- A position that enhances pelvic floor function should be chosen if you regularly perform airway clearance techniques. When sitting, this is achieved with feet flat on the floor, your hips at 90 degrees and your lumbar spine in neutral or straight (not slumped). Ensure you contract the pelvic floor muscles before huffing and coughing.
- For more information, please contact your doctor, physiotherapist or continence advisor, or contact the National Continence Helpline (phone: 1800 330 066) or visit their website www.continence.org.au. There are specialist health care professionals that deal with the problem of incontinence.