Advice & Support
Living with Incontinence

Fight the leaks with pelvic floor exercises

Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles will reduce incontinence.
Published by TENA
Fight the leaks with pelvic floor exercises - TENA

Why are pelvic floor exercises for women with incontinence so effective?

Your bladder is kept in place by a number of muscles in the pelvic floor. As long as these muscles function well, you retain control of urination. However, when the muscles lose their resilience due to age, post-pregnancy or other factors, leaks can occur. Pelvic floor exercises help you counteract this and manage incontinence better.

Are pelvic floor exercises right for me?

If you suffer from little leaks or other forms of urine leakage, pelvic floor exercises can help you manage these. It’s not just post-pregnancy they can be beneficial either – women at many different stages of life have enjoyed the benefits they can deliver.

Pelvic floor exercises – do them anywhere, anytime

Did you know that as little as five minutes of pelvic floor exercises a day can significantly reduce incontinence – or even make it go away? Once you get the hang of it, you can do them anywhere, at any time and it’s never too late begin.

The great thing about pelvic floor exercises is that you can do them anywhere, anytime. At home, at work, on the bus – even sitting in a meeting or enjoying a dinner date. They can be done so discreetly that no one will notice. All you need to do is remember to fit them into your daily routine somewhere. So how can you get started? Here’s our guide and some of the best pelvic floor exercises for women.

Step 1 – find your pelvic floor muscles

You can do this by stopping or slowing down the flow of urine midway through emptying your bladder. Stop the flow for a second or two then relax and finish emptying as normal. Doing this is not a pelvic floor exercise in itself and should only be used for identifying the right muscles for exercising.

Step 2 – work on your technique

The technique behind pelvic floor exercises is not difficult, however it will take practice before you can perform it effectively. Start by relaxing the muscles in that area of your body just as you would when urinating or passing wind. Tighten the muscles gently so you can feel the pelvic floor muscles lifting and drawing together. If you can’t feel anything, change position and try again – for example, lie down or take a seat if you’ve been standing up. After contracting, it’s important to relax the muscles – and don’t exert yourself too hard. You should feel the technique predominantly in the lower pelvic area. If you’re in any doubt about your technique, contact a healthcare professional for advice.

Step 3 – the pelvic floor exercise routine

Simple clench

  • Start off by doing the exercises lying down. This makes it easier to clench effectively.
  • To isolate the pelvic floor muscles, start by clenching the muscles around your back passage. Then continue clenching around the vagina and urethra. Keep clenching as if you were holding something in your vagina. Your buttocks and thighs should be relaxed. Keep clenching for two seconds, then relax for two seconds. Repeat as many times as you can.

Strength clench

  • Clench the pelvic floor muscles as tightly as you can. Hold for five seconds. Relax for five seconds. Repeat 5-10 times. 

Endurance clench

  • Clench with medium tightness for as long as possible. Try to hold the clench for 60 seconds. Do this each time you’ve finished a session of strength clenching. 

Quickness clench

  • Clench as hard as you can for two seconds. Then relax for two seconds. Do this 5-10 times a day – and each time you feel a sneeze, cough or laugh coming.

Good to know

Female incontinence can have many causes. Not all bladder and incontinence problems can be improved using pelvic floor exercises. If you are in any doubt about your condition or symptoms, we recommend consulting a healthcare professional. If you need further help managing urine leakage, we offer a wide range of discreet, effective products for women. We also recommend reading other women’s stories about how they learned to live a full life, uncompromised by their bladder weakness.