What are my pelvic floor muscles?
They are the hammock-like group of muscles between your legs attached to the pubic bone at
the front and the base of the spine (coccyx) at the back.
This muscle has three openings through it, anus (back passage) vagina (birth canal) and
urethra (bladder outlet)
The function of this muscle is to tighten and lift to control the muscles which close these
openings (sphincter muscles).
What causes my pelvic floor muscles to weaken?
A muscle that is not exercised will become weaker through the lack of use, and the pelvic floor
muscles are no exception.
The main causes of weakness are strain and stretching during childbirth especially during the
“bearing down” stage of labor.
Babies over 8lbs in weight the use of forceps, tears or episiotomies during delivery and
constipation are all known to cause further damage.
Kegel Exercises Are The Perfect Muscle Support For Pelvic Floor
Pelvic floor muscle exercises, or Kegel exercises, can help to reduce urine leakage, particularly stress
incontinence, and can strengthen the muscles supporting the pelvic organs.
Kegel exercises were named after the doctor who developed them, Dr. Arnold Kegel.
Why should I exercise these muscles?
These muscles support the three openings through it and when they are weakened they cannot
support these openings effectively which can then result in a leakage of urine from the bladder
when extra pressure is put on the abdomen e.g. coughing, sneezing, laughing, jogging and
You should read this article about pelvic floor exercises (kegel exercises): Discover Magic. How to Do Kegel Exercises for Women. [Infographics]
How often do I need to exercise these pelvic floor muscles?
They should be carried out daily and depending on how weak these muscles are the number of
exercises can vary for each individual.
It is good to start at five times a day and then gradually increase the number over a period of a
Once these muscles are “toned up” do enough exercises per day to make sure
urine does not leak out.
How many exercises do I do at a time?
Weak muscles will tire if over-exercised and could feel some discomfort if you are trying to do
too many exercises.
Do a few at a time and repeat that number several times a day.
How do I do this pelvic floor (Kegel) exercises?
- Sit comfortably with your feet flat on the floor, legs slightly apart, lean forward and rest your
elbows on your thighs (this position makes sure you do not tighten your buttocks or abdominal
muscles whilst exercising the pelvic floor)
- Tighten and pull up the muscle around your back passage and then concentrate on the vagina,
drawing the muscle upwards and inwards and hold to the count of five.
- Repeat these exercises five times and then do five fast squeezes and releases to complete the
- These sessions should be repeated approximately five times throughout the day
gradually increasing the “hold” times.
- When you feel you are doing these exercises correctly you will be able to do them whilst
standing, lying, or sitting.
Pelvic exercises for women (Kegel exercises):
Are there alternatives to these exercises?
No. All women need to maintain the muscle tone of their pelvic floor, starting around puberty.
The exercises cost nothing; you just need to remember to do them daily.
If I already have pelvic floor weakness will these exercises help me?
Yes. They will help but they do not work instantly, it may take eight to twelve weeks before you
notice any improvement.
There are other treatments for pelvic floor available:
- Electrical stimulation of the pelvic floor muscle.
- Weighted vaginal cones.
- Pelvic floor educators.
- Surgery in extreme cases where indicated.