It’s important to practise pelvic floor exercises to strengthen your muscles and reduce the risk of incontinence and prolapse.
Even if you don’t have any symptoms, these exercises may prevent problems developing in future.
Like many muscles in the body, your pelvic floor muscles can be trained and strengthened with regular, targeted exercise.
What are pelvic floor muscles?
What do your pelvic floor muscles do?
Weak pelvic floor muscles
How do you do pelvic floor exercises?
How often should you do pelvic floor exercises?
Pelvic floor exercises
Your ‘pelvic floor’ is made up of muscles and tissues that stretch, like a supportive trampoline, from your pubic bone at the front of your pelvis to your tailbone (coccyx) at the bottom of your spine. It also stretches sideways from one sitting bone to the other.
Your pelvic floor muscles are part of a muscle group known as your ‘core’. Your core muscles support your spine and control the pressure in your abdomen.
Your pelvic floor muscles:
Learn about your pelvic floor muscles with this 3D video animation developed by the Continence Foundation of Australia:
Pelvic floor muscles may become weak for a variety of reasons.
If you have weak pelvic floor muscles, you may experience:
Follow our pelvic floor exercise guide below.
Note, pelvic floor strengthening exercises are not suitable for everyone. If you experience vaginal or pelvic pain, you may need a special program to learn how to relax your pelvic floor muscles.
If you want to improve the strength and function of your pelvic floor muscles, try to do these exercises three to four times each day. Once your symptoms improve, you can do the exercises once a day or during your daily activities.
It’s important to:
It’s normal to feel your lower tummy muscles draw in towards your spine as you tighten your pelvic floor muscles. It’s also okay if your lower tummy does not move.
At the end of each squeeze, you should have a distinct feeling of the muscles ‘letting go’ and releasing.
Listen to this podcast from Jean Hailes pelvic floor physiotherapist Janetta Webb as she talks you through some simple exercises for your pelvic floor.
Functional training involves using your pelvic floor muscles in everyday life situations (e.g. when you cough, sneeze, laugh and lift).
You can squeeze and hold your pelvic floor muscles before and during these moments to prevent leakage and reduce the strain on your pelvic floor muscles and pelvic organs.
When you combine strengthening and coordination exercises with functional training, your muscles will get stronger and more effective in everyday life situations.
This web page is designed to be informative and educational. It is not intended to provide specific medical advice or replace advice from your health practitioner. The information above is based on current medical knowledge, evidence and practice as at August 2022.