What are the pelvic floor muscles?
The floor of the pelvis is made up of layers of muscle and other tissues. These layers stretch like a hammock from the tailbone at the back, to the pubic bone in front.
A woman’s pelvic floor muscles support her bladder, womb (uterus) and bowel (colon). The urine tube (front passage), the vagina and the back passage all pass through the pelvic floor muscles. Your pelvic floor muscles help you to control your bladder and bowel. They also help sexual function. It is vital to keep your pelvic floor muscles strong.
Why should I do pelvic floor muscle training?
Women of all ages need to have strong pelvic floor muscles.
Pelvic floor muscles can be made weaker by:
Women with stress incontinence – that is, women who wet themselves when they cough, sneeze or are active – will find pelvic floor muscle training can help in getting over this problem.
For pregnant women, pelvic floor muscle training will help the body cope with the growing weight of the baby. Healthy, fit muscles before the baby is born will mend more easily after the birth.
After the birth of your baby, you should begin pelvic floor muscle training as soon as you can. Always try to “brace” your pelvic floor muscles (squeeze up and hold) each time before you cough, sneeze or lift the baby. This is called having “the knack”.
As women grow older, the pelvic floor muscles need to stay strong because hormone changes after menopause can affect bladder control. As well as this, the pelvic floor muscles change and may get weak. A pelvic floor muscle training plan can help to lessen the effects of menopause on pelvic support and bladder control.
Pelvic floor muscle training may also help women who have the urgent need to pass urine more often (called urge incontinence).
Where are my pelvic floor muscles?
The first thing to do is to find out which muscles you need to train.
If you don’t feel a distinct “squeeze and lift” of your pelvic floor muscles, or if you can’t slow your stream of urine as talked about in Point 3, ask for help from your doctor, physiotherapist, or continence nurse. They will help you to get your pelvic floor muscles working right.
Women with very weak pelvic floor muscles can benefit from pelvic floor muscle training.
How do I do pelvic floor muscle training?
Now that you can feel the muscles working, you can:
While doing pelvic floor muscle training:
Do your pelvic floor muscle training well
Fewer good squeezes are better than a lot of half hearted ones! If you are not sure that you are doing the squeezes right, or if you do not see a change in symptoms after 3 months, ask for help from your doctor, physiotherapist, or continence nurse.
Make the training part of your daily life
Once you have learnt how to do pelvic floor muscle squeezes, you should do them often. Every day is best. You should give each set of squeezes your full focus. Make a regular time to do your pelvic floor muscle squeezes. This might be after going to the toilet, when having a drink, or when lying in bed.
Other things you can do to help your pelvic floor muscles:
Qualified nurses are available if you call the National Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66* (Monday to Friday, between 8.00am to 8.00pm Australian Eastern Standard Time) for free:
If you have difficulty speaking or understanding English you can access the Helpline through the free Telephone Interpreter Service on 13 14 50. The phone will be answered in English, so please name the language you speak and wait on the phone. You will be connected to an interpreter who speaks your language. Tell the interpreter you wish to call the National Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66. Wait on the phone to be connected and the interpreter will assist you to speak with a continence nurse advisor. All calls are confidential.
* Calls from mobile telephones are charged at applicable rates.
如果你致电国家排便节制热线，有资质的护士会接听你的电话1800 33 00 66*（周一至周五，澳大利亚东部标准时间8:00am—8:00pm）。
如果你在讲英语或者理解上有困难，你可以通过拨打13 14 50获取免费电话传译服务以接通国家排便节制热线。电话会用英语接通，因此请说明你要讲的语言并且不要挂机。你会被连接到一个讲你母语的传译员。告知传译员你想要致电国家排便节制热线，电话是1800 33 00 66。待电话接通后传译员会帮助你与排便节制护理顾问对话，所有的来电均保密。