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What are pelvic floor exercises?

Pelvic floor exercises strengthen the muscles around your bladder, vagina or penis, and back passage.

Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles can help stop incontinence, treat prolapse, and make sex better, too.

Both men and women can benefit from doing pelvic floor exercises.

Find your pelvic floor muscles

You can feel your pelvic floor muscles if you try to stop the flow of urine when you go to the toilet.

It's not recommended that you regularly stop your flow of urine midstream as it can be harmful to the bladder.

Pelvic floor exercises

To strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, sit comfortably and squeeze the muscles 10-15 times in a row.

Don't hold your breath or tighten your stomach, buttock or thigh muscles at the same time.

When you get used to doing pelvic floor exercises, you can try holding each squeeze for a few seconds.

Every week, you can add more squeezes, but be careful not to overdo it and always have a rest between sets of squeezes.

After a few months, you should start to notice the results. You should carry on doing the exercises, even when you notice them starting to work.

Pregnancy and pelvic floor exercises

If you're pregnant or planning to get pregnant, you can start doing pelvic floor exercises straight away.

The exercises will lower your risk of experiencing incontinence after having your baby.

Find out more in exercise in pregnancy.

How pelvic floor exercises can help with sex

Strong pelvic floor muscles can also mean increased sensitivity during sex and stronger orgasms for women.

Strengthening and training the pelvic floor muscles can help men reduce the symptoms of erectile dysfunction.

Further information:

Page last reviewed: 30/04/2017

Next review due: 30/04/2020