Bladder and bowel problems

Exercise to strengthen the pelvic muscles can reduce incontinence 

Pelvic floor muscles gives us control over our bladder and bowel. They are the layer of muscles that support the pelvic organs and span the bottom of the pelvis.

Weakened pelvic floor muscles mean the internal organs are not fully supported and you may have difficulty controlling the release of urine, faeces or even wind.

A weakened pelvic floor can be caused by childbirth, hysterectomy, and prostate surgery, or obesity, and straining from chronic constipation.

If your pelvic floor muscles are weakened, it can be difficult to hold in urine. You may release urine involuntarily after sneezing, coughing, or activities such as jumping and skipping. 

Tips to start strengthening your pelvic floor muscles:

  1. Imagine letting go like you would in order to pass urine or to pass wind. Let your stomach muscles relax and see if you can squeeze in and hold the muscles inside the pelvis while you breathe.

  2. Try tightening your muscles gently to feel just the pelvic floor muscles lifting and squeezing in.

  3. Try holding the inward squeeze for longer (up to 10 seconds) before relaxing.

  4. Try to strengthen against everyday forces that can weaken your pelvic floor like coughing, sneezing or laughing.

  5. Perform 1-3 sets of pelvic floor exercise every day – the best part is you can do it anywhere!

Age is no barrier to the benefits of pelvic floor muscle exercises.

Kegel Exercises are another great way to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles that support your bladder and can help prevent or control urinary incontinence.

If you have never done Kegels before, you first need to find the correct muscles. You can do this by attempting to stop your pee mid-flow. Make sure you are “lifting” up your muscles and not “pushing” down.

It is important that you are consistent with your exercises. Exercise the muscle while going to the toilet at home several times a day. Ask your doctor or physiotherapist for advice if you are unsure what to do.