Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises

Reconstructive Urology Surgery

You may have heard of people doing pelvic floor muscles exercises to help them tackle issues such as urinary incontinence. What exactly are pelvic floor muscles exercises, and how do they help?

At Aare Urocare, we provide discreet environment and specialised treatments tailored to your bladder, kidney and prostate conditions. We offer a range of treatments —  from minimally invasive methods to surgical intervention.

What are Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises?

Pelvic floor muscle exercises, also known as kegel exercises, help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and support pelvic organs. You can locate your pelvic floor muscles by trying to stop the stream of urine mid-flow while sitting on the toilet. You should feel the whole perineum move upwards in the direction of the navel if done correctly. More often than not, we tend to contract our abdominal, thigh or buttock muscles instead.

Pelvic floor muscle exercises can help with urinary incontinence, reduce pelvic organ prolapse, and improve your orgasms. It can even help manage pelvic pain.

Who are Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises for?

Pelvic floor muscle exercises are recommended for men and women (mostly) who are experiencing weakened pelvic floor muscles. If you are experiencing symptoms or medical conditions listed below, you may benefit from pelvic floor muscle exercises:

  • Stress incontinence, e.g. leaking of urine unintentionally when there is a sudden, raised intra-abdominal pressure (e.g. cough or sneeze)
  • Urinary urge incontinence, e.g. having a sudden, strong urge to urinate before an involuntary loss of urine.
  • Faecal incontinence, e.g. leakage of faeces.
  • Pelvic organ prolapse, which is a herniation of pelvic organs through the vaginal wall

However, pelvic floor muscles exercises are for everyone. Anyone can do it, including pregnant ladies, even if they do not have the symptoms or medical conditions listed above. That being said, you should not do pelvic floor muscle exercises if you have a foley catheter in place.

Are there alternatives to Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises?

Pelvic floor muscle exercises are recommended for men and women (mostly) who are experiencing weakened pelvic floor muscles. If you are experiencing symptoms or medical conditions listed below, you may benefit from pelvic floor muscle exercises:

  • Stress incontinence, e.g. leaking of urine unintentionally when there is a sudden, raised intra-abdominal pressure (e.g. cough or sneeze)
  • Urinary urge incontinence, e.g. having a sudden, strong urge to urinate before an involuntary loss of urine.
  • Faecal incontinence, e.g. leakage of faeces.
  • Pelvic organ prolapse, which is a herniation of pelvic organs through the vaginal wall

 

However, pelvic floor muscles exercises are for everyone. Anyone can do it, including pregnant ladies, even if they do not have the symptoms or medical conditions listed above. That being said, you should not do pelvic floor muscle exercises if you have a foley catheter in place.

Examples of Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises

Sit in a comfortable position and tighten your pelvic floor muscles as much as possible for 3-5 seconds. Release the muscle and rest for a few seconds. Repeat up to 10 times.

Sit in a comfortable position and squeeze your pelvic floor muscles as quickly as possible before releasing it. Rest for 3-5 seconds and repeat up to 10 times.

Bridges: Lie on your back and bend your knees, with your feet flat on the ground and hip-width apart. Contract your buttocks and pelvic floor muscles and lift your buttocks off the ground. Hold the position for 3-8 seconds, before relaxing your buttocks and pelvic floor muscles and lowering your buttocks to the floor. Repeat up to 10 times per set.

Squats: Place your feet about hip-width apart. Bend your knees to bring your buttocks as close to the ground as possible. Keep your back straight and your knees in line with your toes. Repeat 10 times.

Some examples of pelvic floor muscles exercises:

  • Sit in a comfortable position and tighten your pelvic floor muscles as much as possible for 3-5 seconds. Release the muscle and rest for a few seconds. Repeat up to 10 times.
  • Sit in a comfortable position and squeeze your pelvic floor muscles as quickly as possible before releasing it. Rest for 3-5 seconds and repeat up to 10 times.
  • Bridges: Lie on your back and bend your knees, with your feet flat on the ground and hip-width apart. Contract your buttocks and pelvic floor muscles and lift your buttocks off the ground. Hold the position for 3-8 seconds, before relaxing your buttocks and pelvic floor muscles and lowering your buttocks to the floor. Repeat up to 10 times per set.
  • Squats: Place your feet about hip-width apart. Bend your knees to bring your buttocks as close to the ground as possible. Keep your back straight and your knees in line with your toes. Repeat 10 times.

You should do pelvic floor muscles exercises at least 3 times a day. It may be more difficult at the start, so you can always start small and increase the frequency with which you do these exercises.

Other alternatives include electromagnetic stimulation (HIFEM), a possible option for those who cannot isolate their pelvic floor during Kegel exercises.

HIFEM works by triggering intense pelvic floor muscle contractions using electric currents that target the neuromuscular tissue. This modifies the muscle structure, inducing the growth of new muscle fibres and stimulating the creation of new protein strands, strengthening the pelvic floor.

These exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles so that they can provide the support you need for bladder control, such as stopping the leakage of urine. 

Holding your pee regularly actually dysregulates your pelvic floor muscles, putting you at risk of voiding issues. 

Summary

All in all, pelvic floor muscle exercises are great for everyone to do but are especially useful in managing symptoms of urinary incontinence and benign prostatic hyperplasia, in turn, improving quality of life. 

Practising these exercises correctly and consistently is key! If in doubt, seek professional help and consult your healthcare professional before starting these exercises. 

And lastly, remember to breathe during these exercises!

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Dr. Fiona Wu 2

Dr Fiona Wu
Consultant Urologist

MBBS (S'pore), MRCS (Edin), MMED (Surg),
MMED (Clinical Investigation),
FRCS (Urol) (RCPSG), FAMS (Urology)

Dr Fiona Wu is an experienced Consultant Urologist and is the Medical Director of Aare Urocare.

Prior to her private practice, Dr Fiona Wu spent 15 years in public service. She was a Consultant in the Department of Urology at National University Hospital (NUH), Alexandra Hospital and Ng Teng Fong General Hospital. She was also the Programme Director of Surgery-in-Training at NUH and a core faculty member of postgraduate junior doctors. 

Dr Wu’s clinical interests lie in Female Urology, Neuro-urology, Urinary Incontinence, Reconstructive Urology and Voiding Dysfunction. She believes in treating incontinence in a holistic way using minimally invasive methods. She worked closely with the gynaecology and colorectal departments to treat complex pelvic floor conditions and continues to do so in her own practice. 

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