Many problems such as frequent urges to urinate, incontinence, and even sexual disorders may be linked to weakened pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic floor muscles are a group of muscles that wrap around the underside of the bladder and rectum. They play an important role in the support and closure of the bladder.
In women, these muscles can become stretched or weakened as a result of pregnancy and birth but also excess weight and heavy physical activity can have a negative impact. This leads to occasional involuntary urine leaks and in some cases even to bladder prolapse or cystocele.
Men are less affected by a weakened pelvic floor than women because of their anatomy. However after prostate surgery pelvic floor exercises are one of the essential rehabilitation measures to prevent the development of subsequent urinary incontinence.
Pelvic floor exercises are also useful to prevent incontinence and some studies have also demonstrated a positive effect on sexual experience for both men and women.
Pelvic floor exercises are an easy and effective way to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. Below you can find six simple exercises to get you started.
Sit upright in a chair with your knees slightly apart. Imagine you are passing urine and are trying to stop the stream. Don’t move your buttocks or legs. Maintain this tension. These are the muscles to strengthen. Try to tense and release the muscles slowly and deliberately.
Lie on your belly with your head resting on your hands; shoulders, neck, bottom, legs and feet are all relaxed.
Your attention should be on your breathing, feeling the air flowing in and out. Feel the movement of the air in your chest, your belly and your hips – how does your position change as you breathe in and out?
Breathe out gently (preferably with your lips slightly parted), close the orifices of the body and activate the hips – i.e. draw them upwards – and at the same time draw your belly button away from the floor up towards your spine. Release again whilst breathing in.
Those who are more advanced can also maintain the tension for a few breaths.
Lie on your back with your feet hip-width apart and place a slightly inflated Softball or a cushion under your bottom.
Whilst breathing out, activate the pelvic floor and at the same time push down on the soles of your feet and lift the pelvis a little off the floor. Whilst breathing in allow the pelvis to return to rest on the ball/cushion and only then release the tension.
You can also keep the pelvis elevated for a few breaths, and then let it gradually sink down. The pelvic floor should only be released when the buttocks are once again resting on the ball or cushion.
Get on all fours with knees hip-width apart and feet ready to push up, place your hands on the floor under your shoulders and keep arms shoulderwidth apart. Keep your eyes focused on the floor and keep your back straight.
Activate the pelvic floor and the lower belly, then lift your knees 1-2 cm above the floor, keep the tension and then place your knees slowly back on the floor. Continue to breathe and breathe out each time you lift your knees.
Repeat exercise as often as your personal fitness allows.
When taking a break:move onto your elbows and knees to relieve the stress on the wrists (see exercise 6).
Stand up with your feet parallel and relax your knees. Your back should be straight. Standing up tall automatically activates the three most important posture muscles – the pelvic floor, the lateral abdominal muscles and the lower back muscles.
Lift one knee and stand on one leg. Fix your eyes on a point in front of you. Try to stand still and keep your balance.
Change legs and lift your other knee and repeat.
Variation: Move the raised leg slowly up and down, in circles and to the side.
A balancing exercise each day is recommended to help prevent falls.
Get onto your knees and elbows with your knees hip-width apart and breath gently in and out.
Move your hips in different directions and rhythmically tense and release the pelvic floor.
Rhythmically breathing in and out while simultaneously tensing and releasing the pelvic floor, has beneficial effect on the muscles.
The breathing movements massage and move the organs, which can have a positive effect on digestion.
It takes time, effort and practice to become good at these exercises. It is advised that you do these exercises for at least three months to start with. You should start to see benefits after a few weeks. However, it often takes 8-20 weeks for most improvement to occur. If you are not sure that you are doing the correct exercises, ask a doctor, physiotherapist or continence advisor for advice.
The execution of the suggested exercises is at your own risk. Despite great care being taken in designing the exercises, Omega Pharma can accept no liability for direct or indirect harm caused by their incorrect execution, nor can it guarantee success.
UROSTEMOL Men & Femina, these are traditional herbal medicinal products for use in the relief of lower urinary tract symptoms related to an overactive bladder or bladder weakness, exclusively based upon long-standing use. Visit your doctor before use to rule out any underlying conditions. Always read the leaflet.
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