Where the pelvic floor muscles are and what they do
The pelvic floor muscles are in the shape of a sling. They hold the
urethra (tube that urine comes out of) in place. We use our pelvic floor muscles when we urinate. They relax at the same time as the
bladder contracts (tightens) to let the urine out.
Why pelvic floor muscles need to be strong
Our pelvic floor muscles get weaker as we get older. Women who have had children may also have weaker pelvic floor muscles. Weakened pelvic muscles can cause problems, such as urinary
incontinence (being unable to control when you pass urine) and reduced sensitivity (feeling) during sex.
incontinence is a type of urinary
incontinence where small amounts of urine leak out during activity. Pelvic floor exercises can improve this condition. Strong pelvic floor muscles stay tighter when you laugh and cough, making leaking urine less likely. Both men and women can do pelvic floor exercises.
How to do pelvic floor exercises
You can feel your pelvic floor muscles if you try to stop the flow of urine when you go to the toilet. To strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, sit comfortably and squeeze the muscles 10-15 times in a row. However, don't hold your breath or tighten your stomach, buttock or thigh muscles at the same time. When you get used to it, you can try holding each squeeze for a few seconds. Every week, you can add more squeezes, but don't overdo it and have a rest in between sets of squeezes. After a few months, you should start to notice the results, and your
incontinence should improve, as well as your sex life. You should continue doing the exercises.
If you're pregnant, or planning to get pregnant, you can start doing pelvic floor exercises.The exercises will make it less likely that you'll have any, or as much,
incontinence after having your baby. For women, strong pelvic floor muscles can also mean increased sensitivity during sex and stronger orgasms. A recent study suggests that these exercises may also benefit men with problems, such as erectile dysfunction and
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