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Pelvic floor exercise guide, identify and contract muscles

Pelvic floor exercise guide, identify and contract muscles

Learning to exercise your pelvic muscles doesn't come easily to everyone. It can be difficult to locate the muscles and, for some, even more difficult to remember to keep doing the exercises. But once you've learned the technique, you can work on them anywhere you like: at home, on the bus, even while you're waiting in the queue at the supermarket...!

The exercises work best when taught by an expert (trained midwife, physiotherapist, etc), but here's a quick guide so you can get a head start.

First of all, you need to identify the muscles. The best way of doing this is to stop yourself mid-flow when you're urinating. That's your pelvic floor muscles doing the work! Note that stopping urine mid-flow should not be done regularly as it can lead to other problems. The first few times that you do the exercises, place a couple of fingers inside your vagina. If you feel a slight squeeze then you know you're doing it right.

You should contract the muscles with an inward and upward movement. It's important not to hold your breath, tighten your stomach or squeeze your buttocks and thighs: these are the wrong muscles.

Once you're comfortable with the technique, alternate between slow and fast contractions. For the slow contractions, gradually tighten the muscles and hold for 10 seconds, and for the fast contractions, tighten and relax the muscles quickly. Aim to do 10 fast and 10 slow 4 times a day.

For more information on pelvic floor exercises, ask your GP or midwife, or phone the Continence Foundation helpline on 0845 345 0615 for details of advisers in your area.


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