Are there differences between male and female pelvic floor muscles?

Pelvic floor muscles are similar in men and women!

At the bottom of the pelvis is the pelvic floor. This is the group of muscles that support the internal organs, such as the bladder and bowels (and the womb, in women).

These muscles work both automatically and under conscious control. They help to keep your bladder and bowels working well, and stop you leaking urine or faeces when you don’t want to.

They also relax when you need them to, to allow for bladder and bowel emptying.

The pelvic floor is very similar in men and women. The main difference is that women have a third opening in the pelvic floor muscles, where the vagina is.

The exercises are almost identical too.

The research shows that women should exercise three times a day (ten slow squeezes, lasting up to ten seconds each, and ten fast squeezes). For women with symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction it is recommended that they exercise up to six times a day. However, men are not advised to exercise preventatively, only when they have symptoms that need to be addressed.

The exercise is a “squeeze and lift” of the muscles around the back passage and the front passage. The best cue for women is to imagine you are about to pass wind and you want to stop yourself doing so. This may also work for men, but another useful cue is to think “nuts to guts!”

Both men and women should not put up with symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction – pelvic health physiotherapy is available for everyone!

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