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What are Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises?

Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor Muscles
Parts of the bladder control system
Image © 2003 Fairman Studios, LLC.

Parts of the bladder control system
Parts of the bladder control system
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health

Front view of bladder.  Weak pelvic muscles allow urine leakage (left).  Strong pelvic muscles keep the urethra closed (right)
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health

Bladder control depends on muscles working together when the bladder is filling. The bladder muscle should be relaxed and the muscles around the urethra (the tube that urine passes through), called the pelvic floor muscles, should be tight. Exercises that strengthen the pelvic floor muscles can help hold urine inside the bladder, preventing leakage. These are commonly called "Kegel" or pelvic floor muscle exercises, named after the doctor who developed them.