Pelvic Floor Muscle Training

The purpose of this webpage is to describe the pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) program being offered as part of the Prostate Cancer Patient Empowerment Program (PCPEP). Our PFMT program is not meant to replace the training and advice offered by the medical system, as much as to augment and reinforce that training. We recommend that men starting PCPEP meet with their local PFMT expert for assessment and training, and to have their program modified as need be.

Overview of PCPEP

PC-PEP is a 6-month home-based comprehensive health-promotion program for men with a diagnosis of prostate cancer.  Eligible men must participate in a research trial measuring their quality of life online at baseline, 6, 12 and 24 months. The elements of this free program include daily emails and videos which teach and encourage men to

•       Exercise – daily aerobic, strength training by video twice per week

•       Pelvic floor exercises – 3 times 10min per day (videos, text reminders)

•       Relaxation technique using biofeedback – 10min per day

•       Healthy dietary advice and relationship teaching via daily video

•       Optional social support 

•       Call two co-participants once a week

•       Join monthly videoconference with other men on program

To learn more about PCPEP watch this 10-minute video or check this website.
Description of the PCPEP PFMT Program

We ask the men to watch two training videos describing and explaining the purpose of PFMT. They receive a daily email for six months reminding them to follow an 8-10 minute video three times a day. Every week the video changes so the training becomes progressively more complex and generally more difficult.

The components of each video

1.    A Relaxation technique (first two minutes) with the intention of having the men learn to relax the pelvic floor muscles

2.    Two sets of 10 ‘Long Holds’: Each rep consists of a 10-second maximal contraction followed by 10 second of complete relaxation

3.    Two sets of ‘quick flicks’ in which the men do as many quick contractions and partial relaxations as they can over 10 seconds.  The frequency is about one contraction per second, however, the men can go more quickly or slowly as long as they maintain proper technique.

4.    Anti-incontinence technique for high risk situations (eg. ‘blow before you go’) which follow this sequence: the men hold their breath at the end of an expiration, contract their pelvic floor, perform the high risk maneuver like standing up, then relax their floor and resume breathing. They practice this technique twice, taking the last 30 seconds of the video.

Progression of the Videos over Six Months

Each week the PFMT videos get progressively more complex / difficult in the following ways

1.    For the first month the men do the exercises while lying flat (with the exception of the ‘blow before you go’ technique). The next months they do them while sitting, and for the final months standing.

2.    The videos draw on multiple iterations of isolating the anterior and posterior PFM groups during the contraction and relaxation phase of the ‘long holds’. For instance starting the contraction in the peri-anal group and completing the contraction in the anterior group ie a ‘back to front’ contraction.

3.    The ‘blow before you go’ contains variations like pretending to lift a heavy object, or while coughing/sneezing.

An example video (from week 16) can be seen here

We also offer an ‘explanation’ video most Sundays which explains in more detail the technique for that week. The explanation videos also reinforce the correct technique and review the principles of the PFMT program. 

Texting PFMT Reminders

The men on the program have the option of receiving a text message three times a day to remind them to practice. The text contains a link to the video of the day. However, the men typically quickly learn the sequence early in the week. 

Adapting the Program for Surgery Patients

We encourage men undergoing radical prostatectomy to start the program prior to their surgery, and continue the program after the surgery once they have been cleared by their Urologist / PFMT expert. Should they experience pain/discomfort we ask them to stop the program and get expert advice.

Reaching out to us:

If you have any questions, concerns or feedback please don’t hesitate to reach out to us via our Research Coordinator.  We’d love to hear from you.  

Thanks for all you do in support of men with prostate cancer

Please contact us / research coordinator here

PEP@nshealth.ca or call 902-237-6277 or fill out the contact form.

Address: Soillse Prostate Cancer Quality of Life Research Lab Room 202, 5 Victoria, VG Site

1276 South Park Street Halifax, NS B3H 2Y9

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