Your pelvic floor muscles give you control over your bladder and bowel. They also hold your bladder, bowel and uterus in place.
Weak pelvic floor muscles can mean you feel heavy around your bottom, leak urine when you cough, sneeze, laugh or exercise, feel an urgent need to urinate, or can’t control passing wind.
Pregnancy and childbirth can lead to weak pelvic floor muscles. So can constipation and straining when you have a bowel movement. Fruit, vegies and lots of water can help you avoid constipation.
How to strengthen your pelvic floor
Go to the toilet when your bladder feels full. A good way to sit on the toilet is to relax and lean forward, with your feet close to the toilet and flat on a step on the floor.
Strengthen your pelvic floor muscles with exercises. Squeeze, lift and hold, as if you’re trying to hold in urine or wind. Hold for as long as you can, but keep breathing. Your lower tummy will pull in too.
Relax, and you should feel the muscles letting go. Repeat this as many times as you can, up to eight times at any one time. You can do pelvic floor exercises sitting, lying down or standing.
Hints and tips
Remembering to do the exercises can be tricky. Try doing them whenever you have a shower, wash your hands or brush your teeth.
Squeeze your pelvic floor muscles and hold them before you cough, sneeze, squat or lift anything. This braces your pelvic floor and protects it.
Raising Children Editorial Team. Weak pelvic floor muscles. Raising Children Network. 2013; [cited 2013 Aug 12]; [1 screen]. Available at URL: http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/pelvic_floor_care_pip.html/context/1546