When it comes to bladder health, one of the most important things for us to talk about is how to train your pelvic floor. I think looking after your pelvic floor is one of the best ways that we can prevent issues like incontinence in the future, but it also forms a really important part of the treatment plan if people are having issues like incontinence. So here are my top tips for looking after your pelvic floor.
Firstly, I think it's important to identify what the pelvic floor is. It's a structure that's deep in the pelvis that's made up of muscles and connective tissue. And you can kind of think of it as a trampoline that attaches at the front on the pubic bone, at the back on the tailbone, and either side on the seat bones. And you want that trampoline to be firm and strong but have a little bit of give like a good trampoline.
On top of that trampoline sits your bladder, your womb if you're a woman, and your bowels. And there are some holes in it, and these holes allow you to pee and poo. When you jump up and down, for example, or cough or sneeze, those muscles give a little bit of tension to maintain control of the bowels and the bladder. So pelvic floor exercises are what are important to keep it healthy and keep it strong. And the good news is that you can do these just about anywhere and just about at any time.
So they take about two minutes. So you could do it whilst you're waiting for the kettle to boil, whilst you're waiting for your toast to pop up, or even whilst you're just running some water to do the washing up. Ideally, you should do them three times a day. So what I'm gonna do next is I'm gonna describe exactly how to do a pelvic floor exercise. It's a bit complicated, so I'm gonna do it in a stepwise approach and I'm gonna do it with you. So I want you to follow along with what I do.
Okay. First of all, just go with me on this. Imagine you need to fart, but you're in a busy lift and you need to hold onto it. So just imagine that. And what I want you to do now is hold onto the fart. So the muscles you're using are part of the pelvic floor. Relax them. Now, what I want you to do is do that again. Imagine you're gonna fart, hold onto it and pull those muscles up inside and hold onto them. Well done. That's the first bit. The next bit is, imagine you're having a pee and somebody's walking in the room and you don't want them to know you're there. So you need to stop midway through. So imagine you're having a pee, hold onto it, stop it, and relax. We will do that one again. So imagine you're having a pee, stop it, pull those muscles up inside, squeeze and relax.
And the relaxation part is really important as well. Some people have what we call a hypotonic pelvic floor, and that's when the trampoline is a bit too tought because they're clinging onto those muscles all day long. What tends to happen in that scenario is that they get tired as the day goes on and people might notice that they have issues with bladder control later in the day, for example.
Okay, so now you've got all the different components, we're gonna put it all together to do one exercise. So first of all, imagine you need to fart, hold onto it, draw it up inside. Imagine you need to pee, hold onto it, draw it up in inside. You should relax your buttocks, relax your legs. It should be just the muscles inside. Squeeze for as long as you can and then relax. You'll only be able to hold onto it for one to two seconds at the start, but that will get longer as you progress. So you just did one exercise, well done. You do eight of those three times a day and that is the ideal workout for your pelvic floor. I know it's a lot to remember but there are things out there to help.So the Squeezy app is amazing. Gives you daily reminders to do your exercises and guides you as to how to do them. So that's great for both men and women.
There are also lots of devices out there for women to use that you insert into the vagina, so kegel weights, as well as lots of new electronic devices that are coming on the market all the time. So do check those out and see what's gonna work for you. I think, and remember, we all have a pelvic floor, we all should be exercising. And if you are somebody who's having symptoms such as incontinence, then stick with it. It can take a while before these exercises kick in, but after a couple of months, you should notice a benefit.