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How can I tell if I am doing pelvic floor muscles exercises correctly?

Pelvic floor muscle exercises can strengthen the bowl of muscles that support the pelvic floor, which can help accidental bowel leakage (ABL). It is important to make sure you are contracting the correct muscles.

For women, it is the muscles around the urethra, vagina and rectum. For men, it is the muscles around the urethra, scrotum and rectum. Pelvic floor muscle exercises should not include the muscles of the buttocks or abdomen.

To test whether you are contracting the correct muscles, you can try to stop your urine flow in a controlled fashion by contracting these muscles -- but you should not make a habit of stopping your urine flow routinely because it can confuse the bladder and the pelvic floor.

When you first start, you may not be able to hold the muscles tight for very long, but as you gradually increase your strength, you will be able to hold a squeeze for up to 10 seconds. A good goal is to perform 10 squeezes three times a day.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.