Pelvic floor tips for everyday life

Special exercises can effectively strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. But there are also simple things that you can do on a day to day basis to avoid overstraining your pelvic floor muscles. The main goal is to avoid putting pressure on your pelvic floor.

Standing up

If you are lying down and get up while keeping your upper body straight, your stomach muscles tense and push your pelvic floor down. You can reduce the pressure by rolling onto your side first, propping yourself up on your arms, and then getting up.

Posture

If your back is not straight, there is less tension in your pelvic floor and the organs in your abdomen squash together, pushing them down onto the pelvic floor. You can avoid that by keeping your back straight when sitting and walking.

Lifting objects

To reduce the strain on your pelvic floor when lifting things, bend your knees and keep your back straight when coming back up instead of keeping your legs straight and bending forward. It can also help to carry things close to your body and tense your pelvic floor muscles.

Holding your breath when lifting heavy things stops the muscles in your back, stomach and pelvic floor from working together as well as they could. They work better together if you carry on breathing.

Coughing and sneezing

Coughing or sneezing suddenly increases the pressure in your belly. This can put strain on your pelvic floor if your upper body is bent forward. You can reduce the pressure by looking upwards or over your shoulder when coughing or sneezing.

Abdominal exercises

Abdominal exercises like sit-ups put a lot of pressure on your abdomen. That can be a problem if you have a weak bladder, possibly because you are pregnant or you have had a baby in the last few months. If so you can talk to your doctor about whether you should avoid abdominal exercises for a while or do lighter exercises instead.

Andreae S. Lexikon der Krankheiten und Untersuchungen. Stuttgart: Thieme; 2008.

Longo DL, Fauci AS, Kasper DL, Hauser SL, Jameson JL, Loscalzo J. Harrison’s Principles of internal medicine. New York: McGraw-Hill Companies. 18th ed; 2011.

Pschyrembel W. Klinisches Wörterbuch. Berlin: De Gruyter; 2014.

IQWiG health information is written with the aim of helping people understand the advantages and disadvantages of the main treatment options and health care services.

Because IQWiG is a German institute, some of the information provided here is specific to the German health care system. The suitability of any of the described options in an individual case can be determined by talking to a doctor. informedhealth.org can provide support for talks with doctors and other medical professionals, but cannot replace them. We do not offer individual consultations.

Our information is based on the results of good-quality studies. It is written by a team of health care professionals, scientists and editors, and reviewed by external experts. You can find a detailed description of how our health information is produced and updated in our methods.

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Updated on December 29, 2016
Next planned update: 2021

Authors/Publishers:

Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG, Germany)

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