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Simple pelvic floor exercises to do at home

Do you have weak pelvic floor muscles from cancer or cancer treatment?

26 Jun 2023
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Simple pelvic floor exercises to do at home

Partner content: Content has been reproduced with the permission of, and is wholly owned by, Parkway Cancer Centre. Great Eastern does not own or claim to own any rights to the content shared.

Patients with weak pelvic floor muscles as a result of cancer or cancer treatment may experience side effects such as accidental urine leakage when they cough, sneeze, jump or run. They may even leak urine when bending forward to pick something up.

This type of urinary leakage is also called stress urinary incontinence (SUI). When patients experience SUI, it is a strong indication that there is weakness in the pelvic floor muscles. As the condition worsens, patients may stop exercising all together and even limit socialising for fear of accidental urine leakage. 

Fortunately, there are ways patients can relieve symptoms, reduce discomfort, and improve their quality of life. Guest writer Dr Esther Lim, Senior Pelvic Health Physiotherapist from Performance Sports & Rehab Specialists, explains more about what it is and how it can be managed.
 

Start by lying down on your back knees bent. In this position, the pelvic floor muscles do not have to work against gravity to contract.

A quick google search of ‘kegels’ or ‘pelvic floor exercises’ may yield pictures of women performing a bridge. But they do not target the pelvic floor directly. However, it can be done together with other hip exercises if you are struggling to isolate the pelvic floor.

Patients can start exercises as often as 30 repetitions a day. That can mean 10 in the morning, 10 in the afternoon and 10 in the evening, or 30 in one go but with adequate rest between sets of 10 repetitions.

Pelvic floor exercises are not a quick fix solution to weak pelvic floor. It takes at least 6–8 weeks for muscles to increase hypertrophy or thicken. It may sometimes take up to 6 months of daily practice to see results. Even if you feel that the exercises are not helping, stay the course and keep up with your exercises.

Source credit: 

Dr Esther Lim (Guest Physiotherapist) -  Doctor of Physical Therapy (Columbia), Senior Pelvic Health Physiotherapist, Performance Sports & Rehab Specialists
 

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