This first thing to do is to correctly identify the muscles that need to be exercised.
Doing pelvic floor exercises
Now that you can feel the muscle working, exercise it by:
- Sit, or lie comfortably with the muscles of your thighs, buttocks and abdomen relaxed.
- Tighten the ring of muscle around the back passage as if you are trying to control diarrhea or wind. Relax it. Practice this movement several times until you are sure you are exercising the correct muscle. Try not to squeeze your buttocks.
- When you are passing urine, try to stop the flow mid-stream, and then restart it. Only do this to learn which muscles are the correct ones to use and then do it only once a week to check your progress.
- If you feel comfortable, another way to check that you are using the correct muscle is to place one or two fingers in your vagina then squeeze the pelvic muscles. Squeezing the muscle will grip the fingers. If the muscles are very weak, you may not feel much of a grip until they improve with exercise. Strong muscles will produce a squeezing and drawing up effect.
While doing the exercises:
- Each exercise consists of squeezing and relaxing your pelvic floor muscles. Squeeze the muscles for 5 seconds and relax the muscles for 5 seconds. Each squeeze and relaxation counts as one exercise.
- You should build to 10 second contractions. Remember to squeeze and count slowly "1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10" and relax the muscle and count "1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10."
- Do this exercise in each position every day; ten exercises lying, ten sitting, and ten standing. What is crucial is that you develop the habit of doing the exercises every day.
- Do this exercise 60 times a day, divided in 2 sessions of 30 each, one in the morning when you get up and the other at night.
Making the exercises part of your daily routine.
- DO NOT hold your breath
- DO NOT push down instead of squeezing
- DO NOT tighten your tummy, buttocks or thighs.
Once you have learned how to do these exercises, they can be done during everyday activities. Such activities might include:
- Brushing your teeth
- After urinating
- Watching T.V.
- Stopped at traffic lights in the car
- Putting on the kettle
It might be helpful if you do these exercises at least five times every day.
Other things you can do to help your pelvic floor muscles
- Share the lifting of heavy loads
- Avoid constipation and prevent any straining during a bowel movement
- Seek medical advice for asthma and bronchitis to reduce sneezing and coughing.
- Keep your weight within the right range for your height and age.
If you find it difficult to do the exercises or you feel that you are not improving, don’t give up. Seek help from a health professional who specialises in this area.