Pelvic Floor Exercises
Pelvic floor exercises help to strengthen the muscles that lie at the bottom of the pelvis. These muscles are responsible for supporting the internal organs, including the womb, bladder and rectum. If these muscles become weak or damaged during childbirth, then the support for the internal organs is reduced. This can lead to urinary problems including incontinence. It can also cause vaginal prolapse, bowel trouble and sexual problems.
Pelvic floor exercises can help strengthen your muscles so that they can give your organs support again. This can improve your bladder control and improve or stop any leakage.
Pelvic floor exercises are usually easy to learn when supervised by one of our trained Continence Advisors or Physiotherapists. It is important to be shown the "knack" of doing effective pelvic floor exercises properly because if they are done incorrectly they will not work or may even make things worse. Your Continence Advisor will be able to give you extra help with biofeedback or electrical stimulation which are ways of making the exercises easier to learn.
Please follow this link for a helpful leaflet about Pelvic Floor Exercises; but remember, it is always best to do this with a continence advisor or physiotherapist and using the leaflet to do the exercises alone is less likely to be effective
Do not expect instantaneous results!
It will take several weeks of regular exercise to regain the strength in your pelvic floor muscles. You need to continue to do your pelvic floor exercises for the rest of your life. If you stop exercising, your problems may return.
Weight loss and incontinence.
Studies have shown that weight loss can significantly improve incontinence. A 10% reduction in your weight could reduce the amount of leakage, especially when combined with pelvic floor exercises. Weight loss is also likely to make any future operation safer and easier.
Other non-invasive treatments.
Some patients can benefit from using vaginal inserts. These are placed inside the vagina and prevent leakage by exerting gentle pressure on the bladder opening. This might be more suitable for patients with milder incontinence. It can also be useful for patients who only tend to leak during exercise, as the device can be removed at other times. There are a variety of devices available and the leaflet below provides some further information on some of them.