How pelvic floor exercise can help with prostate cancer recovery
According to the Australian government, one in eight men will get prostate cancer. And recovering from prostate cancer can be a long and complicated journey for anyone is diagnosed with it. This is why it’s essential to take every step possible to be healthy and feel good about yourself. As a result, as the demand for better treatments and faster recoveries from prostate cancer increases, more people turn to pelvic floor exercise to speed up their recovery.
Pelvic floor exercises target muscles surrounding your bladder and anus, which may be affected by prostate surgery or radiotherapy treatment. And doing pelvic floor exercises during this period can help you deal with the side effects of prostate cancer treatment problems such as urinary incontinence and bowel dysfunction. This is why after several clinical trials for prostate cancer survivors, they included pelvic floor exercise.
The National Health Service (NHS) recommends three main exercises:
- The “drawing in” exercise: contract the muscles of your anus to stop the flow of wind. Hold for a count of ten, then relax for a count of five.
- The “drawing up” exercise: contract the muscles around your bladder as if you were trying to avoid wetting yourself or stop urine flow. Hold for a count of ten, then relax for a count of five.
- The “lift up” exercise: contract the muscles around your anus and bladder as if trying to lift a heavy object, such as a table. Hold for a count of ten, then relax for a count of five.
In addition, pelvic floor exercise can help with weight management. And it’s an excellent form of exercise that one can do at any time and in most places discreetly.
Continued pelvic floor exercises may also help you:
-Improve your sex life and performance, and it can even improve your energy and motivation.
-Strengthen your pelvic floor muscles to help prevent prostate cancer from returning in the future.
Why and when you should do pelvic floor exercises
You can choose to do pelvic floor exercises while you’re undergoing prostate cancer treatment. Or after your recovery is over. You should get the green light from your doctor before starting any of these exercises. Also, remember that it’s better to do the exercises on an empty bladder because this will increase how well they work.
However, if you have urinary incontinence, it’s best to do the exercises with a full bladder. This is because your bladder stores urine instead of letting it flow out. And doing pelvic floor exercises while it’s full can help you get rid of the excess urine that accumulates in your bladder when you’re leaking.
The steps to doing pelvic floor exercises
- Find a comfortable place to sit or lie down. Make sure that you do the exercises when you’re in a position that’s easy for you.
- Gently contract your pelvic floor muscles as if you’re trying to stop urinating or passing stool
- Hold the contraction for 3 seconds.
Your pelvic muscles work similar to how your heart works, and the more you use them, the stronger they get. This implies that you’ll strengthen the right muscles around your bladder and anus by performing these exercises.