Perineal exercises are designed to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor as well as the urinary sphincter. The steps that follow will help in learning these exercises.
Identify the Muscle
An easy way to be certain you are using the correct muscle is to sit on the toilet with knees as far apart as possible. Start and stop the flow of urine. The muscle you use to stop the flow is the one you will be working on in the exercises. Do not be upset if you cannot stop the flow completely. Note: Stopping the flow of urine should NOT be used as part of your exercise routine.
If your pelvic floor is quite weak, you may not be able to tell if your muscle is working and may need to feel it working with your fingers. Put two fingers into your vagina. Tighten the muscle around your fingers (as if stopping yourself from passing gas). You may need to press your fingers down toward the rectum to feel the muscle working.
- Tighten the perineal muscle and hold it for 4 seconds.
- Relax the muscle for 4 seconds.
- This is an exercise set.
- Do 10-15 exercise sets, 2 to 3 times each day.
- It can be helpful to do the exercise in different positions: lying, sitting and standing.
- Set aside time for doing the exercise when you can focus on what you are doing. If soreness seems to always be present or the muscle seems tired, decrease the number of sets and slowly work your way back up. Feel free to do more exercises during the day, but doing them once a day can be beneficial.
Increase the time you tighten and relax the muscle using this schedule.
Week 3: hold for 6 seconds and relax for 6 seconds
Week 5: hold for 8 seconds and relax for 8 seconds
Week 7: hold for 10 seconds and relax for 10 seconds
Do not expect results right away. Regular exercise over several months is often needed before progress is noted, though in a week or two, many people are aware of some improvement. Once good muscle tone is established, maintenance exercises should become part of your day, with 10 to 25 sets a day being enough.
It is important to not just improve the muscle, but to start using it when better bladder control is needed. Remember to tighten the muscle during a cough, or when jogging or laughing. Also tighten it before and during standing up. Learning the habit of using the muscle will make exercises a routine of daily life and will keep your muscle in shape.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 09/08/2011
Copyright © 09/08/2011 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#4338
Print Health Fact For You