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Multiple Sclerosis - Pelvic Floor Exercises

Where is the pelvic floor?

The pelvic floor is a series of muscles attached between the bottom of the spine (coccyx) and the bone between your legs (pubic bone). They support the bladder where urine is stored, the uterus (womb) and the bowel. The muscles of the pelvic floor help to control when you need to pass urine or empty your bowels. Often due to childbirth or lifestyle the muscles can become weak and not offer the support that they once did.

What symptoms might I experience?

The leaking of urine when coughing, sneezing or lifting a heavy object is common.

What can I do?

You can strengthen the pelvic floor muscles by regular exercises. Sit comfortably on a stool or chair with your knees apart and feet flat on the floor. Lean forward and rest your forearms on your thighs. Begin by tightening your back passage. Hold on to this whilst drawing up the muscles around the vagina. By doing these two together you should be exercising your pelvic floor.Pelvic floor muscles may become tired at first but they should become stronger as you practice.

You should do these without:

  • Holding your breath.
  • Pushing down when you are squeezing.
  • Tightening your tummy or buttocks Squeezing your legs together.

The exercises

  • First do slow exercises (endurance). Hold tight for maximum of 10 seconds.
  • Release the contraction and rest for 4 seconds. Repeat the hold as many times as you can up to a maximum of 10 times.
  • Now do fast exercises (power). Tighten and relax your muscles quickly. Repeat up to a maximum of 10 times.

How do I know if the exercises are working ?

You should expect fewer leaks

What else can I do?

Don’t lift things that are too heavy for you. Try to keep weight stable. Try to drink 1.5 –2 litres of fluid daily.

How can I cope with leaks of urine whilst building up the strength of my pelvic floor muscles?

You should tighten your pelvic floor muscles before you cough or sneeze or lift. This can help prevent a leak of urine. For more bladder advice talk to your MS nurse and obtain a leaflet on bladder problems and MS. You can obtain a supply of incontinence pads from your local continence advisor.

Others organizations who can help:

Incontact 020 770 3246

The Continence Foundation 0845 345 0165

Radar 0870 7250 3222

MS Society UK 020 8438 0700

MS Society Cymbru Wales 029 2079 6676

MS Trust 01462 476700



  • Last Updated:
    01 November 2022
  • Review Date:
    01 November 2025
  • Author:
    Fiona Lynch
  • Summary:

    You can strengthen the pelvic floor muscles by regular exercises. 

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