The floor of the pelvis is made up of layers of muscles and other tissues. These layers stretch like a hammock from the tailbone at the back, to the pubic bone at the front.
A man’s pelvic floor muscles support his bladder and bowel (colon). The urethra (urine tube) and the anus (back passage) pass through the pelvic floor muscles. Pelvic floor muscles help control the bladder and bowel. They may also help with sexual function.
It is vital to keep pelvic floor muscles strong.
Do you have stress incontinence?
Men who wet themselves when they cough, sneeze or are active have stress incontinence. They may find pelvic floor muscle training improves this problem.
Do you have an overactive bladder with urgency?
Men who have an urgent need to pass urine more often may have an overactive bladder. This symptom is called urgency. When men leak with this urgency, it is called urge incontinence. Pelvic floor muscle training can help with these problems.
Do you have poor bowel control?
Men who have problems with bowel control may find pelvic floor muscle training helpful. It can help strengthen the muscles that close the anus (back passage). These muscles are part of the pelvic floor muscles.
Men of all ages need to have strong pelvic floor muscles.
Pelvic floor muscles can be made weaker by:
The first thing to do is to find out which muscles you need to train. Here are four things you can try:
Your doctor, continence physiotherapist or continence nurse advisor will help you to get your pelvic floor muscles working the right way. Ask them for help if you:
All men can benefit from pelvic floor muscle training. Training gives you better control of your pelvic floor muscles. This helps improve bladder and bowel control.
Now that you can feel the muscles working, you can:
Use your pelvic floor muscles as part of your daily routine. You can brace your pelvic floor muscles to avoid leaking. This is called ‘the knack’. Try to brace your pelvic floor muscles before you do physical tasks such as lifting things, swinging your golf club, or digging in the garden. Brace your pelvic floor muscles before doing anything likely to make you leak.
While doing pelvic floor muscle training:
Fewer strong squeezes are better than a lot of half-hearted ones. If you are not sure that you are doing the squeezes right, seek help. Ask for help from your continence physiotherapist or continence nurse advisor. Seek help if you do not see a change in your symptoms after three months.
Once you learn how to do pelvic floor muscle squeezes do them often. Every day is best. 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:
You are not alone. Poor bladder and bowel control can be cured or better managed with the right treatment. If you do nothing, it might get worse.
Phone expert advisors on the National Continence Helpline for free:
1800 33 00 66* (8am–8pm Monday to Friday AEST)
To arrange for an interpreter through the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National), phone 13 14 50 Monday to Friday and ask for the National Continence Helpline. Information in other languages is also available from continence.org.au/other-languages
* Calls from mobiles are charged at applicable rates