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What are pelvic floor exercises?

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

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

Everyone can benefit from doing pelvic floor exercises.

Find your pelvic floor muscles

You can feel your pelvic floor muscles if you try to imagine stopping yourself peeing and farting.

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

Pelvic floor exercises

To strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, squeeze the muscles up to 10 times while standing, sitting or lying down.

Do not hold your breath or tighten your stomach, bottom or thigh muscles at the same time.

When you get used to doing pelvic floor exercises, you can try holding each squeeze for one second. Eventually you can try a set of 10 fast squeezes, followed by a set where you hold each squeeze.

Be careful not to overdo it, and always have a rest between sets of squeezes. It's best not to do a set of these exercises more than 6 times a day.

After a few months, you should start to notice results. You should keep doing the exercises, even when you notice they're starting to work.

Pregnancy and pelvic floor exercises

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

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

Find out more about exercise in pregnancy, including pelvic floor exercises.

How pelvic floor exercises can help with sex

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

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

Video: How to do pelvic floor exercises

In this video, a physiotherapist explains how to do pelvic floor exercises.

Media last reviewed: 20 October 2023
Media review due: 20 October 2026

Further information

Page last reviewed: 22 November 2023
Next review due: 22 November 2026