Life's events can weaken pelvic muscles. Pregnancy, childbirth,
and being overweight can do it. Luckily, when these muscles get
weak, you can help make them strong again. Pelvic floor muscles are
just like other muscles. Exercise can make them stronger. Women
with bladder control problems can regain control through pelvic
muscle exercises, also called
Pelvic fitness in minutes a day
Exercising your pelvic floor muscles for just five minutes,
three times a day can make a big difference to your bladder
control. Exercise strengthens muscles that hold the bladder and
many other organs in place. The part of your body including your
hip bones is the pelvic area. At the bottom of the pelvis, several
layers of muscle stretch between your legs. The muscles attach to
the front, back, and sides of the pelvis bone. Two pelvic muscles
do most of the work. The biggest one stretches like a hammock. The
other is shaped like a triangle. These muscles prevent leaking of
urine and stool.
How do you exercise your pelvic muscles?
Find the right muscles. This is very important. Your doctor,
nurse, or physical therapist will help make sure you are doing the
exercises the right way. You should tighten the two major muscles
that stretch across your pelvic floor. They are the "hammock"
muscle and the "triangle" muscle. Here are three methods to check
for the correct muscles. You can make these pelvic floor muscles
stronger with a few minutes of exercise every day.
Try to stop the flow of urine when you are sitting on the
toilet. If you can do it, you are using the right muscles.
Imagine that you are trying to stop passing gas. Squeeze the
muscles you would use. If you sense a "pulling" feeling, those are
the right muscles for pelvic exercises.
Lie down and put your finger inside your vagina. Squeeze as if
you were trying to stop urine from coming out. If you feel
tightness on your finger, you are squeezing the right pelvic
Don't squeeze other muscles at the same time. Be careful not to
tighten your stomach, legs, or other muscles. Squeezing the wrong
muscles can put more pressure on your bladder control muscles. Just
squeeze the pelvic muscle. Don't hold your breath. Repeat, but
don't overdo it. At first, find a quiet spot to practice--your
bathroom or bedroom--so you can concentrate. Lie on the floor. Pull
in the pelvic muscles and hold for a count of 3. Then relax for a
count of 3. Work up to 10 to 15 repeats each time you exercise.
Healthy sphincter muscles can keep the urethra closed. Do your
pelvic exercises at least three times a day. Every day, use three
positions: lying, sitting, and standing. You can exercise while
lying on the floor, sitting at a desk, or standing in the kitchen.
Using all three positions makes the muscles strongest. Be patient.
Don't give up. It's just five minutes, three times a day. You may
not feel your bladder control improve until after three to six
weeks. Still, most women do notice an improvement after a few
You can also exercise by using special weights or biofeedback.
Ask your health care team about these exercise aids.
Hold the squeeze 'til after the sneeze
You can protect your pelvic muscles from more damage by bracing
yourself. Think ahead, just before sneezing, lifting, or jumping.
Sudden pressure from such actions can hurt those pelvic muscles.
Squeeze your pelvic muscles tightly and hold on until after you
sneeze, lift, or jump. After you train yourself to tighten the
pelvic muscles for these moments, you will have fewer
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a