Pelvic Floor Muscles
How to do your pelvic floor exercises - audio
Improving your pelvic floor muscles
Pelvic floor muscle exercises (sometimes called Kegels) should include long, held squeezes as well as short, quick squeezes; ensuring that you let the muscle ‘go’ or ‘relax’ after each squeeze. You should work the muscles until they tire and do the exercises regularly to help the muscles become stronger and more effective.
- Tighten your pelvic floor muscles, hold them tight, then release and let them fully relax. How long can you hold the squeeze?
- Repeat the squeeze and hold until the pelvic floor muscles tire. How many times can you repeat the squeezes?
- Quickly tighten your pelvic floor muscles, then immediately let them go again. How many times can you do this quick squeeze before the muscles get tired?
- Always let the muscles fully relax after each squeeze
Aim to be able to do 10 long squeezes, holding each squeeze for 10 seconds, followed by 10 short squeezes.
You may need to start with ‘little and often’ if you find that you can only hold the squeeze for a short time, or only do a few before the muscles tire.
You should do your pelvic floor muscle exercises at least 3 times each day. You may find it easier to start your program when you are sitting or lying down.
Build up your exercise routine gradually over the weeks and months. You should notice an improvement in 3 - 5 months and then keep practicing your pelvic floor muscle exercises once a day to maintain the improvement.
As your muscles improve, aim to do your exercises in other positions such as standing up. Eventually you can practice using these muscles whilst doing activities such as walking and bending.
Remembering to exercise
It is easy to forget to do your pelvic floor muscle exercises, particularly when your symptoms start to improve. Try to make them part of a daily routine, doing them at the same time as another activity you already do regularly e.g. brushing your teeth. Try the following suggestions:
- put a reminder on your phone
- try one of the pelvic floor exerciser apps available
- after emptying your bladder, whilst sitting on the toilet (but don’t practice by stopping your urine flow)
- take a moment to do them when you go to the gym
- during a regular journey in the car, bus or train Ideally you will be able to improve your pelvic floor muscles with these exercises.
- Some women like to use gadgets to help them remember. There are many available to buy, but they don’t always suit everyone. It is best to seek advice from a specialist physiotherapist about what might help if you are finding it difficult to do these exercises.