Pelvic floor exercises
Pelvic floor exercises are recommended to everyone throughout life but particularly in the following situations:-
Stress incontinence refers to the complaint of urine leaking out when the individual coughs, sneezes, laughs etc. This is more common in women and is particularly seen if the uterus is enlarged or after pelvic surgery. It can happen in men with prostate or bladder cancer but the problem here is usually "urgency" :
Urgency is the situation where there is a strong desire to pass urine immediately and the individual has very little notice before he/she losses control and becomes incontinent, i.e. there is an urgent need to find a loo!
Some people after pelvic radiotherapy, such as to the prostate, have urgency symptoms relating to their bowels. Also pelvic floor exercises can improve the muscle tone around the anus helping piles or rectal prolapse.
Some advocate pelvic floor exercises to improve sexual performance.
The level of exercise depend on the individuals fitness. A general rule is to attempt some form of exercise at least 1-2 every day an to keep it going regularly. Benefits usually only appear within 2-3 weeks and may take several months to peak.
Here's how to do it:
First of all you will need to find your pelvic floor
muscles. Imagine you are trying to
stop passing wind and urine at the same time.
Tighten the muscles around your back passage and your front passage and
lift them up inside you. When you
do this you are tightening your pelvic floor muscles. It is very easy to use other muscles as well, so be
sure you are using only the right ones:
pull in your stomach
squeeze your legs together
tighten your buttocks
hold your breath
Tighten the pelvic floor and count to 5, then
relax. Repeat this at least
Perform these exercises 5 times daily.
When you feel confident with this regime increase the tightening time for
10 counts and include exercise 2 as well.
Exercise 2 – The Quick Exercises
These exercises work the muscles quickly to
help them react to sudden stresses like coughing, laughing or exercise.
Draw in the pelvic floor and hold it for just one count before letting
go. Repeat this up to 10 times.
You should aim to perform this regime of exercises 5 times daily.
You can perform these exercises wherever you feel
happy – either lying down, standing up, in the supermarket or bus queue.
Further general information Your doctors and specialist nurses are in an ideal position to give you relevant information on your disease and treatment as they know your individual circumstances. Cancerbackup has a help line (0808 800 1234) and a prize winning video available in English, Italian, Urdu, Bengali, Gujarati & Hindi explaining Radiotherapy & Chemotherapy. Cancernet.co.uk has over 500 pages describing cancer, its management, practical tips and tool which patients, their carers and their doctors have found helpful during the cancer journey.