Pelvic floor exercises for men

What is your pelvic floor and where is it?

The pelvic floor is a sheet of muscles that extend from your tail bone (coccyx) to your pubic bone at the front, forming a ‘platform’ between your legs. It provides the floor to your pelvis (the bottom part of your abdomen/tummy), and supports your bladder and bowel.

It also helps to control the:

• urethra – the tube that takes urine outside of your body; and

• anus (back passage) – where stool passes through when you open your bowels.

Sometimes the pelvic floor can be weakened. If this happens, you may experience a range of symptoms including:

  • a tendency to leak urine when you cough, laugh or sneeze (referred to as stress urinary incontinence)
  • a need to go to the toilet repeatedly during the day or night (referred to as frequency)  an urgent need to visit the toilet, and leaking before you get there or if you do not go (referred to as urge incontinence); or
  • an inability to control the passing of wind from your back passage.

Why do the pelvic floor muscles get weak?

We all take our pelvic floor muscles for granted. However, if we neglect them, they can become weaker, causing problems. Factors that can weaken your pelvic floor include:

  • Lack of exercise. They need regular exercise to maintain good muscle tone, just like other muscles of the body. If they are not exercised, they may become stretched, weak and no longer work effectively, leading to the symptoms outlined above.
  • Pelvic surgery, such as surgery to reduce your prostate gland.
  • Straining to open your bowels. The ‘pushing down’ movement when you strain to open your bowels can overstretch your pelvic floor and make it weaker.
  • Being overweight. Extra weight puts more pressure on your pelvic floor. Your GP will be able to tell you whether you are an acceptable weight for your height and what you should do if you are under or overweight.
  • Having a chronic cough. Every cough bounces on your pelvic floor, so persistent coughing can damage and overstretch the muscles.

This information sheet has been given to you to help answer some of the questions you may have about pelvic floor exercises. If you have any further questions, please speak to a doctor or medical professional.

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