Are pelvic floor muscle exercises safe?

Key issues around pelvic floor muscle exercises

The most important point is that yes, they are absolutely safe!

All women should perform pelvic floor exercises on a daily basis, preferably three times a day.

There is excellent research to show that this can help keep your pelvic floor healthy, and prevent problems such as stress incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.

For women who experience problems—such as bladder or bowel leakage, or pelvic organ prolapse—pelvic floor muscle exercises should be practised up to six times a day.

There is no age limit to doing pelvic floor muscle exercises, so start yours today.

Men should not do pelvic floor muscle exercises routinely, but they are important for men who experience bladder or bowel problems, such as urinary leakage after a prostate operation.

There are times where pelvic floor exercises may aggravate symptoms, such as pain or bladder and bowel symptoms. This is usually because the muscles are overworking and not “letting go” sufficiently. If this is the case, it is important to ensure that you fully relax the muscles between each squeeze.

Sometimes, stretches such as the “happy baby” or “modified child’s pose” may help. Also, doing less pelvic floor exercises, or stopping for a few days, may be what is needed. Another point to remember is: make sure you don’t do too many pelvic floor exercises!

If you have pelvic floor symptoms that continue after trying these steps, then do see a pelvic health physiotherapist for an assessment.

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