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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 stop the flow of urine when you go to the toilet.

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

Pelvic floor exercises

To strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, sit comfortably and squeeze the muscles 10 to 15 times.

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 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 results. You should keep doing the exercises, even when you notice they're starting to work.

To find out more about pelvic floor exercises, watch a video about pelvic floor strengthening on the Health and Care Video Library.

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 help also reduce the symptoms of erectile dysfunction.

Further information

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Page last reviewed: 14 April 2020
Next review due: 14 April 2023