“Pelvic floor exercises are not necessarily easy to do correctly. The pelvic floor muscles can be difficult to isolate. When done correctly, they are very effective…”.1

Umbrella
What may the Pelvic Floor Exercises Umbrella include?

Depending on the Source (DotS) this Umbrella may include:

  • Kegel Exercises
  • Kegels
  • Pelvic Floor Exercises
  • Pelvic Floor Muscle Control
  • Pelvic Floor Muscle Training Exercises
  • Pelvic Muscle Exercises (PMEs)
  • Pelvic Muscle Strengthening Exercises

Pelvic Floor Muscles

What are pelvic floor muscles?

DotS the definition of pelvic floor muscles may vary. In Pelvic Floor Muscles: What Are Pelvic Floor Muscles? [+ Images] the Continence Foundation of Australia’s definition is:

“The pelvic floor muscles span the bottom of the pelvis and support the pelvic organs (bladder and bowel, and uterus (womb) in women)”.2

Pelvic Floor Exercises

What are pelvic floor exercises?

DotS the definition of pelvic floor exercises may vary. In What Are Pelvic Floor Exercises? the (United Kingdom) NHS’s (National Health Service) definition is:

“Pelvic floor exercises strengthen the muscles around your bladder, bottom, and vagina or penis”.3

Importance

Why are pelvic floor exercises important?

In Pelvic Floor Muscle Training Exercises: Information the (United States) MedlinePlus’ explain:

“Pelvic floor muscle training exercises can help strengthen the muscles under the uterus, bladder, and bowel (large intestine). They can help both men and women who have problems with urine leakage or bowel control”.4

In What Are Kegel Exercises? the (United States) National Association for Continence (NAFC) include a diagram and elaborate on why:

“Kegels, or kegel exercises (also known as pelvic floor muscle exercises) are one of the best ways to improve and maintain bowel and bladder functions. Kegels can be done by men or women, and can increase the strength of your pelvic floor and may improve or even eliminate bladder leakage”.5

Identifying the Correct Muscles

How may women identify the correct muscles?

In Women: How Can I Find My Pelvic Floor Muscles? Method 1 – Stopping the Flow Pelvicfloorfirst.org.au explain:

“The first step in performing pelvic floor muscle exercises is to identify the correct muscles. There are several ways which may help you to correctly identify the different parts of your pelvic floor muscles. One way is to try to stop or slow the flow of urine midway through emptying the bladder. Stopping the flow of urine repeatedly on the toilet is not an exercise, but a way of identifying your pelvic floor muscles. This should only be done to identify which muscles are needed for bladder control.

If you can, stop the flow of urine over the toilet for a second or two, then relax and finish emptying without straining. This ‘stop-test’ may help you identify the muscles around the front passage which control the flow of urine. It is not recommended as a regular exercise.6

How Do I Do

How do I do pelvic floor exercises?

In Pelvic Floor Muscle Training for Women: How Do I Do Pelvic Floor Muscle Training? the Continence Foundation of Australia explain how to do pelvic floor exercises.

In Women: How Can I Find My Pelvic Floor Muscles? Pelvicfloorfirst.org.au explain Getting the Technique Right and Exercising Your Pelvic Floor Muscles.

Tips

What are some tips about performing pelvic floor exercises properly?

In What Are Kegel Exercises? How To Do Kegel Exercises – A Step By Step Guide the NAFC elaborate on:

“Like any exercise, it can be difficult at first to know that you are performing Kegels properly. But with a daily commitment, it becomes instinctive. Here are a few tips:

  • Which muscles?…
  • Build up to your routine…
  • Watch outs…
  • Repeat 3 times a day…
  • Give yourself encouragement…”.7

Physiotherapist or Continence Nurse

Who may provide help with doing pelvic floor exercises correctly?

In Pelvic Floor Exercises Pelvic Floor Exercises [+ Podcast + Video + Image] the (Australian) Jean Hailes for Women’s Health explain:

Pelvic Floor Exercises

“Pelvic floor exercises are not necessarily easy to do correctly. The pelvic floor muscles can be difficult to isolate. When done correctly, they are very effective, but practising the wrong technique can make a problem worse.

If doing the exercises yourself doesn’t help, then you can seek help from a pelvic floor physiotherapist or a continence nurse”.8

On page one in Fact Sheets and Downloads: Fact Sheets – Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises and Bladder Training: Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises the American Urogynecologic Society explain:

“If you are not sure that you are doing the exercises correctly, ask your medical provider at a pelvic exam to check if your squeeze is working the right muscles. Or, ask for a referral to a physical therapist who specializes in pelvic floor muscle rehabilitation. The physical therapist will also check your back and abdominal strength, your gait and your posture. These all affect how your pelvic muscles work”.9

Health Care Provider

What if I would like to find out if pelvic floor exercises could help me?

If you would like to find out if pelvic floor exercises could help you, it may be in your best interest to choose to talk to your health care provider about this. Together you may clarify your symptoms, discuss your options and if required, agree on who may be the most appropriate health care provider to help you.

In What Are Kegel Exercises? Signs of Pelvic Floor Strength Improvement the NAFC encourage us to seek help:

“Women who have difficulty performing kegel exercises on their own may find biofeedback therapy helpful. With professional instruction from a nurse specialist or physical therapist, many women witness significant improvement in pelvic floor muscle strength”.10

Health Topics A-Z

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Sources

Where may I find the Sources quoted?

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Sources

  1. Pelvic Floor Exercises: Pelvic Floor Exercises. Last Updated: 19 December 2019 | Last Reviewed: 04 August 2018. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://www.jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/bladder-bowel/pelvic-floor-strength Accessed: 04 November 2020
  2. Pelvic Floor Muscles: What Are Pelvic Floor Muscles? Last Updated: 12 October 2020. Last Reviewed: 23 March 2020. Continence Foundation of Australia https://www.continence.org.au/about-continence/continence-health/pelvic-floor Accessed: 04 November 2020
  3. What Are Pelvic Floor Exercises? Page Last Reviewed: 14 April 2020. NHS (National Health Service) https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/womens-health/what-are-pelvic-floor-exercises/#close%22 Accessed: 04 November 2020
  4. Pelvic Floor Muscle Training Exercises: Information. Review Date: 10 October 2018. Page Last Updated: 08 October 2020.  MedlinePlus https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003975.htm Accessed: 04 November 2020
  5. What Are Kegel Exercises? National Association for Continence https://www.nafc.org/kegel Accessed: 04 November 2020
  6. Women: How Can I Find My Pelvic Floor Muscles? Method 1 – Stopping the Flow Pelvicfloorfirst.org.au http://www.pelvicfloorfirst.org.au/pages/working-your-pelvic-floor.html Accessed: 04 November 2020
  7. What Are Kegel Exercises? How To Do Kegel Exercises – A Step By Step Guide. National Association for Continence https://www.nafc.org/kegel Accessed: 04 November 2020
  8. Pelvic Floor Exercises: Pelvic Floor Exercises. Last Updated: 19 December 2019 | Last Reviewed: 04 August 2018. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://www.jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/bladder-bowel/pelvic-floor-strength Accessed: 04 November 2020
  9. Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises and Bladder Training: Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises. 2016. American Urogynecologic Society https://www.voicesforpfd.org/assets/2/6/Bladder_Training.pdf Accessed: 04 November 2020
  10. What Are Kegel Exercises? Signs of Pelvic Floor Strength Improvement. National Association for Continence https://www.nafc.org/kegel Accessed: 04 November 2020

Topic Last Updated: 04 November 2020 – Topic Last Reviewed: 04 November 2020
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