Incontinence and The Pelvic floor

Incontinence and The Pelvic floor

IncontinenceThe pelvic floor muscles work to hold the bladder, vagina, womb and bowel in the correct place. They work to control the opening and closing of the bladder and should close the bladder automatically when you laugh, cough or sneeze. They are present in both men and women.

The pelvic floor muscles sit like a hammock, from the front to the back of the pelvis. During childbirth, with aging, being obese and straining such as chronic constipation can damage these muscles. They can become weaker and are no longer as effective in controlling the bladder and sometimes the bowel.

Weakened pelvic muscles can cause problems, such as urinary incontinence and reduced sensitivity during sex.


• Accidentally leaking urine with activities such as exercising, laughing, coughing or sneezing
• Urgently needing to get to the toilet or not making it there in time
• Constantly needing to go to the toilet
• Finding it difficult to empty your bladder or bowel
• Accidentally losing control of your bladder or bowel
• Accidentally passing wind
• Pain in your pelvic area
• Painful during intercourse

Pelvic floor muscle training exercises can help strengthen the muscles supporting the uterus, bladder, and bowel. They can help both men and women who have problems with urine or bowel control.

Start with your pelvis in a neutral position. You can do these exercises in lying, sitting or standing.

Start by slowly drawing your lower abdominal muscles in towards your spine. Keep the spine and pelvis in neutral. Keep breathing as normal, avoid holding your breath. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat 10 times.

From there, draw up, lift and squeeze the muscles of you pelvic floor, as if you are trying to stop yourself from going to the toilet. Again, breath normally, hold for 10 seconds and do 10 repetitions. This will require some concentration and practice to start with. You may find it difficult to hold for 10 seconds initially but you can build up gradually.

Carry out these exercises daily, to the point where the muscle feels tired. To progress, aim to squeeze harder and for longer duration.

These exercises may take up to 6 months to gain control, but improvements should be seen before then. They also should be continued for life.

You are not doing the exercises correctly if you are:
• Squeezing your bum cheeks together
• Holding your breath
• Lifting you shoulders upwards
• Pressing your knees together

For more advice

Book an appointment

Or contact the clinic





Danielle Gavaghan MISCP 

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