Alongside your Gepan instillations and other everyday strategies for managing symptoms, you can work to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. Below you will find specific exercises that can improve the elasticity of your pelvic floor. These exercises are easy to do, they are equally suitable for men and women, and regular workouts can help relieve your symptoms.
Only consistent practice can give good results, so make sure to include them in your everyday routine.
Please note: we advise that you discuss in advance with your physician whether these exercises are suitable for you.
How to feel your pelvic floor
It is important to get a feeling of your pelvic floor before the workout, to make sure that you are performing the exercises correctly:
- Lie on your back and raise your knees.
- Keep your feet hip-width apart.
- Put one hand on the area between the pubic bone and the navel.
- Now press your heels against the floor and try to tighten the pelvic floor muscles by pulling in the muscles of the vagina, the urethra and anus at the same time.
- Pull your pubis towards your navel and push your loins to the ground. This way you will lift the pelvis.
- Try to relax the buttocks during the exercises, since they are not part of the pelvic floor muscle group.
Never hold your breath during exercise. Instead, try to be aware of the contractions of your pelvic floor through regular breathing. You can hold the contractions through several breaths or do them when breathing out.
If your joints ache from doing exercises on hands and feet, you can, as an alternative, support yourself on your forearms and rest your head on your hands.
Try to connect exercising with another habit which you have adopted already. For example, do them right after taking a shower, or brushing your teeth. This little trick will make it easier for you to adopt a new habit and stick to it.
Strengthening your pelvic floor
Your GP or urology team can explain to you how to do these properly; or watch the video on the right for at-home training.
Exercise no. 1
Lie on your back and stretch your arms and legs. Your legs should be slightly bent and relaxed towards the ceiling.
Hold this position for at least one full minute and keep breathing through your abdomen.
Exercise no. 2
Position yourself on hands and knees and support yourself with your lower legs and hands. Make sure your head is in line with your spine and pelvis when relaxed.
Now pull your pubis toward the navel, tightening the pelvic floor and rounding your back. Hold this contraction for 3-4 full breaths, before relaxing again.
Exercise no. 3
Begin this exercise on hands and knees, too. Lift the knees off the ground, so that your weight is distributed between your feet and your hands, contracting the pelvic floor at the same time.
After 3-4 breaths, release and put the knees back down.
Exercise no. 4
Stay on your hands and knees and breathe slowly. While inhaling, hollow your back and round your back when exhaling.
Return to the initial position. Repeat this exercise 4-5 times.
Exercise no. 5
Sit with your back straight on a chair or a stool. Position your feet hip-width on the floor, and rest your hands on your knees.
Bring your weight forward towards your feet until you feel slight pressure in the front part of the pelvic floor muscles. Breathe gently through your nose and try, when breathing out through your mouth, to pull your urethra and your vagina inwards and up.
When inhaling, release the tension and repeat the exercise for 5-10 breaths. You can take a break of 1-2 breaths if you need to.
Exercise no. 6
Sit down with a rounded back close to the back of a chair or stool, with your feet hip-width apart, your hands resting on your knees. Shift your weight backwards as much as possible – you will feel pressure in the rear part of the pelvic floor muscles.
While breathing in through the nose, try to pull the anus inwards and upward. Release the tension with your next breath and proceed with the exercise for 5-10 breaths. You can pause for a few breaths if you need to.