Exercises for bladder: Kegel Exercises for Urinary Incontinence
Kegel Exercises for Urinary Incontinence
You won’t really look like you’re working out. You’ll be watching television, driving in your car, working at your desk, or brushing your teeth. But you’ll also be squeezing and strengthening the pelvic floor muscles through Kegel exercises, a series of muscle contractions that can help control or prevent urinary incontinence.
Dr. Arnold Kegel created these pelvic floor exercises in 1948 as a way to help women who developed stress urinary incontinence following childbirth.
Childbirth or menopause can weaken the pelvic floor muscles that hold the bladder and urethra in place. With those muscles weak, any additional pressure on the bladder caused by a laugh, sneeze, cough, or exercise can cause urine to leak.
Kegel exercises, if done correctly and over an extended period of time, strengthen those muscles to better support your bladder. A review of studies from New Zealand found that women who regularly practiced Kegels were up to 17 times more likely to be cured of incontinence symptoms than women who did not.
Men can benefit, too. Though women make up 75 to 80 percent of the 25 million Americans living with incontinence, men may face similar bladder issues after they’ve had their prostate removed. Kegels are often prescribed for women, but recent research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests more men should be doing them as well. The study found that men who did Kegels over an eight-week period had fewer than half as many weekly incontinence episodes as they had prior to learning the exercises.
Performing Kegel Exercises
Before you start your Kegel regimen, you’ll need to figure out which muscles are the correct ones to focus on. The best way to do that is to sit on the toilet with your legs slightly apart and start to urinate. After a few seconds, try to stop the stream of urine by squeezing without moving your legs. If you stop the urine flow, you’ve likely used the pelvic floor muscles: These are the muscles you will need to strengthen to help control urinary incontinence. It may take more than one try to be sure you have found the right muscle group.
The individual contractions of a Kegel workout require you to squeeze the pelvic floor muscles just as you would if you were trying to stop urine flow. Ideally, Kegel exercises should be done as follows:
- Empty your bladder before beginning.
- Contract the pelvic floor muscles and hold for a count of 10.
- Relax the muscles completely for a count of 10.
- Stand and perform 10 of these contractions. Repeat 10 times each while sitting, and 10 times while reclining, for a total of 30 contractions in a single exercise routine.
- Perform your Kegel exercises three times a day, for a total of 90 contractions a day.
Your Kegel Program
Ninety contractions a day may sound daunting, but keep in mind that you can do them anywhere-while waiting on a supermarket line or pumping gas, for example. After all, no one can see you doing them.
You can help make these exercises second nature by performing them during set triggers — for example, whenever you are stopped at a red light or during commercial breaks. After a while, you might find yourself performing Kegel exercises automatically.
Remember that these are like any other exercises in that results are not automatic. Most notice some improvement in their urinary incontinence after four to six weeks, but it could take as long as three months before you experience noticeable results.
And as with other forms of exercise, remember that overdoing it is a bad thing. Some people try to speed up their progress by performing more repetitions or doing their exercises more often. By doing so, they’re running the risk of overtiring or injuring the pelvic floor muscles, which can make urinary incontinence worse.
how to help a weak bladder
For many people with urinary incontinence, the following self-help tips and lifestyle changes are enough to relieve symptoms.
Do daily pelvic floor exercises
Pelvic floor exercises can be effective at reducing leaks, but it’s important to do them properly. Find out how to do pelvic floor exercises.
You may have to do pelvic floor exercises for 3 months before you see any benefits.
If you smoke, you put yourself at risk of incontinence, because coughing puts strain on your pelvic floor muscles.
Find out about NHS Smokefree support services, or call the Smokefree National Helpline to speak to a trained adviser on 0300 123 1044 from Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm and Saturday and Sunday 11am to 4pm.
Find out more about how to stop smoking.
Do the right exercises
High-impact exercise and sit-ups put pressure on your pelvic floor muscles and can increase leaks.
To strengthen your pelvic floor to relieve symptoms, replace high-impact exercise, such as jogging and aerobics, with strengthening exercise, such as pilates.
Pilates strengthens your core muscles, which is beneficial for stress incontinence.
Lifting puts strain on your pelvic floor muscles, so avoid it whenever you can.
When you do need to lift something, such as picking up children or shopping bags, tighten your pelvic floor muscles before and during the lift.
Lose excess weight
Being overweight can weaken your pelvic floor muscles and cause incontinence because of the pressure of fatty tissue on your bladder.
Your symptoms may improve, and could go away completely, if you lose any excess weight.
Use the healthy weight calculator to check you’re a healthy weight for your height.
Find out more about how to lose weight.
Treat constipation promptly
Straining to poo weakens your pelvic floor muscles and makes urinary incontinence worse.
Never ignore the urge to poo. If you have constipation, it may help to change your diet and lifestyle.
Eating more fibre and exercising more can help. It may also help if you change the way you sit and use your muscles to empty your bowels. A specialist physiotherapist can advise you on this.
Find out more about how to have a healthy diet.
Cut down on caffeine
Caffeine irritates the bladder and can make incontinence worse.
Coffee has the biggest effect, so stop drinking it or switch to decaffeinated coffee.
Fizzy drinks, tea, green tea, energy drinks and hot chocolate also contain caffeine, so cut down on these too and replace them with water and herbal or fruit teas.
Cut down on alcohol
Alcohol is a diuretic, which makes you urinate more often. Cutting down may help incontinence symptoms.
Find out more about how to cut down on alcohol.
Drink plenty of water
Drink 6 to 8 glasses of fluid a day (but no more) unless your doctor advises you otherwise.
Many people with urinary incontinence avoid drinking fluids, as they feel it causes more problems. However, limiting your fluid intake makes incontinence worse, because it reduces your bladder’s capacity.
Not drinking enough fluid can also cause constipation or make it worse.
Find out which are the healthiest drinks.
Eat the right foods
Avoid spicy and acidic foods, such as curries and citrus fruits, as they can irritate the bladder and make leaks and other incontinence symptoms worse.
Page last reviewed: 07 November 2019
Next review due: 07 November 2022
Step-by-step guide to performing Kegel exercises
Doing Kegels right means find your pelvic floor muscles and working them.
Kegel exercises won’t help you look better, but they do something just as important — strengthen the muscles that support the bladder. Strong pelvic floor muscles can go a long way toward warding off incontinence.
These exercises were developed in the late 1940s by Dr. Arnold H. Kegel, an American gynecologist, as a nonsurgical way to prevent women from leaking urine. They also work for men plagued by incontinence.
Although Kegel exercises themselves are simple, finding the right muscles to exercises isn’t. One-third or more of women and men who do Kegels are actually working their abdominal, buttock, or inner thigh muscles. They don’t reap the benefits of the exercises.
Locate your pelvic muscles
Several techniques can be used to find the right set of muscles to exercise.
- Pretend you are trying to avoid passing gas.
- Pretend to tighten your vagina around a tampon.
- Pretend you are trying to avoid passing gas.
- While urinating, try to stop your urine stream.
If you’ve identified the right muscles, you’ll feel the contraction more in the back of the pelvic area than the front.
Choose your position. Start by lying on your back until you get the feel of contracting the pelvic floor muscles. When you have the hang of it, practice while sitting and standing.
Contract and relax
- Contract your pelvic floor muscles for 3 to 5 seconds.
- Relax for 3 to 5 seconds.
- Repeat the contract/relax cycle 10 times.
Keep other muscles relaxed. Don’t contract your abdominal, leg, or buttock muscles, or lift your pelvis. Place a hand gently on your belly to detect unwanted abdominal action.
Extend the time. Gradually increase the length of contractions and relaxations. Work your way up to 10-second contractions and relaxations
Aim high. Try to do at least 30 to 40 Kegel exercises every day. Spreading them throughout the day is better than doing them all at once. Since these are stealth exercises that no one notices but you, try to sneak in a few when waiting at a stoplight, riding an elevator, or standing in a grocery line.
Diversify. Practice short, 2 to 3 second contractions and releases (sometimes called “quick flicks”) as well as longer ones.
Kegel exercises in an emergency
If you leak urine when you cough, sneeze, laugh, bend over, or lift something heavy (stress incontinence), doing one or more Kegels before a “trigger” may be enough to prevent any leakage. If you have the urge to urinate and doubt you are going to make it to the toilet, doing Kegels may get you safely to a restroom.
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should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
Pelvic Floor Exercises | Stress Incontinence
If you develop stress incontinence, there is a good chance that it can be cured with pelvic floor exercises. Pelvic floor exercises are also useful to prevent incontinence, particularly for women who have had children.
What are the pelvic floor muscles?
The pelvic floor muscles are a group of muscles that wrap around the underneath of the bladder and rectum. Your doctor may advise that you strengthen your pelvic floor muscles:
- If you develop stress incontinence. In stress incontinence, urine leaks when there is a sudden extra pressure (‘stress’) on the bladder. Urine tends to leak most when you cough, laugh, or exercise (like jump or run). Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles can often cure stress incontinence.
- After childbirth. The common reason for the pelvic floor muscles to become weakened is childbirth. If you do pelvic floor muscle exercises after childbirth, it may prevent stress incontinence developing later in life.
In addition, some people feel that having strong pelvic floor muscles heightens the pleasure when having sex.
Female urinary system
Pelvic floor exercises to treat stress incontinence
It is important that you exercise the correct muscles. Your doctor may refer you to a continence advisor or physiotherapist for advice on the exercises. They may ask you to do a pelvic floor exercise while they examine you internally, to make sure you are doing them correctly.
The sort of exercises are as follows:
Learning to exercise the correct muscles
- Sit in a chair with your knees slightly apart. Imagine you are trying to stop wind escaping from your back passage (anus). You will have to squeeze the muscle just above the entrance to the anus. You should feel some movement in the muscle. Don’t move your buttocks or legs.
- Now imagine you are passing urine and are trying to stop the stream. You will find yourself using slightly different parts of the pelvic floor muscles to the first exercise (ones nearer the front). These are the ones to strengthen.
- If you are not sure that you are exercising the right muscles, put a couple of fingers into your vagina. You should feel a gentle squeeze when doing the exercise. Another way to check that you are doing the exercises correctly is to use a mirror. The area between your vagina and your anus will move away from the mirror when you squeeze.\
- The first few times you try these exercises, you may find it easier to do them lying down.
Doing the exercises
- You need to do the exercises every day.
- Sit, stand or lie with your knees slightly apart. Slowly tighten your pelvic floor muscles under the bladder as hard as you can. Hold to the count of five, then relax. These are called slow pull-ups or long squeezes.
- Then do the same exercise quickly and immediately let go again. These are called fast pull-ups or short squeezes.
- The aim is to do a long squeeze followed by ten short squeezes, and repeat this cycle at least eight times. It should only take about five minutes.
- Aim to do the above exercises at least three times a day.
- Ideally, do each set of exercises in different positions. That is, sometimes when sitting, sometimes when standing and sometimes when lying down.
- As the muscles become stronger, increase the length of time you hold each slow pull-up or long squeeze. You are doing well if you can hold it each time for a count of 10 (about 10 seconds).
- Do not squeeze other muscles at the same time as you squeeze your pelvic floor muscles. For example, do not use any muscles in your back, thighs, or buttocks.
- Some people find it difficult to remember to do their exercises; a chart or a reminder on your phone may help.
- Try to get into the habit of doing your exercises at other times too, whilst going about everyday life. For example, when brushing your teeth, waiting for the kettle to boil, when washing up, etc.
- You may find it helpful to do a ‘squeeze’ just before you do something that would otherwise cause you to leak, like coughing or lifting.
- After several weeks the muscles will start to feel stronger. You may find you can squeeze the pelvic floor muscles for much longer without the muscles feeling tired.
It takes time, effort and practice to become good at these exercises. It is best do these exercises for at least three months to start with. You should start to see benefits after a few weeks. However, it often takes two to five months for most improvement to occur. After this time you may be cured of stress incontinence. If you are not sure that you are doing the correct exercises, ask a doctor, physiotherapist or continence advisor for advice.
If possible, continue exercising as a part of everyday life for the rest of your life. Once incontinence has gone, you may only need to do one or two bouts of exercise each day to keep the pelvic floor muscles strong and toned up and to prevent incontinence from coming back.
Other ways of exercising pelvic floor muscles
Sometimes a continence advisor or physiotherapist will advise extra methods if you are having problems or need some extra help performing the pelvic floor exercises. These are in addition to the above exercises. For example:
- Electrical stimulation. Sometimes a special electrical device is used to stimulate the pelvic floor muscles with the aim of making them contract and become stronger.
- Biofeedback. This is a technique to help you make sure that you exercise the correct muscles. For this, a physiotherapist or continence advisor inserts a small device into your vagina when you are doing the exercises. When you squeeze the right muscles, the device makes a noise (or some other signal such as a display on a computer screen) to let you know that you are squeezing the correct muscles.
- Vaginal cones. These are small plastic cones that you put inside your vagina for about 15 minutes, twice a day. The cones come in a set of different weights. At first, the lightest cone is used. You will naturally use your pelvic floor muscles to hold the cone in place. This is how they help you to exercise your pelvic floor muscles. Once you can hold on to the lightest one comfortably, you move up to the next weight and so on.
- Other devices. There are various other devices that are sold to help with pelvic floor exercises. Basically, they all rely on placing the device inside the vagina with the aim of helping the pelvic muscles to exercise and squeeze. There is little research evidence to show how well these devices work. It is best to get the advice from a continence advisor or physiotherapist before using any. One general point is that if you use one, it should be in addition to, not instead of, the standard pelvic floor exercises described above.
Pelvic floor exercises if you do not have incontinence
The type of exercises are exactly the same as above. If you are not used to doing pelvic floor exercises then perhaps do the exercises as often as described above for the first three months or so. This will strengthen up the pelvic floor muscles. Thereafter, a five-minute spell of exercises once or twice a day should keep the muscles strong and toned up which may help to prevent incontinence from developing in later life.
How to strengthen your pelvic floor
What are pelvic muscles?
Pelvic muscles are located at the base of your core. They stretch like a trampoline or hammock from the pubic bone back to the tailbone. Pelvic muscles support the bladder, bowel and uterus. When these muscles contract, the organs are lifted and tightened, preventing accidental urination, bowel movements, and gas. When these muscles relax, you are able to urinate and have a bowel movement. These muscles also play a role in sexual pleasure and the birthing process.
For many, weak pelvic muscles can cause bladder control problems and leakage when you cough, sneeze, laugh, or strain. Weakening of pelvic muscles result from pregnancy, childbirth, aging, hormones associated with menopause, and straining these muscles due to constipation, chronic cough, or being overweight.
How to you strengthen these muscles?
Daily exercises can strengthen the pelvic muscles so they function well. The most popular exercise is kegels to directly work on the pelvic muscles, but other exercises like split tabletop and squats also activate the pelvic floor.
When you expand and contract these muscles on purpose, you are doing an exercise called “kegels,” one of the most popular exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor. Kegels can be done anywhere, sitting, standing, or laying down—and no one will notice. Contract and tighten your pelvic floor muscles for 3 seconds and then relax for 3 seconds. Make sure you are pulling up, not pushing down. Remember to breathe. Repeat this 10 times in a row, 3-5 times a day. Being stopped at a red light is a good reminder to do your kegels! There are some apps you can also download to remind you.
2. Glute Bridge
If done correctly, the bridge activates the pelvic floor as well as the glutes. Lie flat on your back with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle and feet close to your body. Keep your head, feet, and arms on the floor. Push through your heels to lift your pelvis off the ground and hold for 2 seconds. Repeat.
3. Bird Dog
Get into a tabletop position (on all fours) with your knees under your hips and your wrists under your shoulders. Brace your core (this is a balance challenge!) and lift your opposite arm and opposite leg straight while keeping your head and neck in a neutral position (looking straight down). Hold for two seconds, and alternate.
Remember to engage the muscles during each exercise for the best results.
It can take anywhere from 3-6 weeks to 6 months of exercises before your bladder control improves.
If you are having trouble controlling your bladder, speak with your healthcare provider about your options.
Women · Working your pelvic floor · Pelvic Floor First
How can I find my pelvic floor muscles?
Method 1 – Stopping the flow
The first step in performing pelvic floor muscle exercises is to identify the correct muscles. There are several ways which may help you to correctly identify the different parts of your pelvic floor muscles. One way is to try to stop or slow the flow of urine midway through emptying the bladder. Stopping the flow of urine repeatedly on the toilet is not an exercise, but a way of identifying your pelvic floor muscles. This should only be done to identify which muscles are needed for bladder control.
If you can, stop the flow of urine over the toilet for a second or two, then relax and finish emptying without straining. This ‘stop-test’ may help you identify the muscles around the front passage which control the flow of urine. It is not recommended as a regular exercise.
Method 2 – Visualisation
Another method to identify your pelvic floor muscles is to imagine stopping the flow of urine and holding in flatus (wind) at the same time. This can be done lying down, sitting or standing with legs about shoulder width apart.
- Relax the muscles of your thighs, bottom and abdomen (tummy).
- Squeeze in the muscles around the front passage as if trying to stop the flow of urine.
- Squeeze in the muscles around the vagina and suck upwards inside the pelvic.
- Squeeze in the muscles around the back passage as if trying to stop passing wind.
- The muscles around the front and back passages should squeeze up and inside the pelvis.
- Women who are familiar with using tampons can imagine squeezing in the vagina as if squeezing a tampon up higher in the vagina.
- Identify the muscles that contract when you do all these things together. Then relax and loosen them.
Getting the technique right
This is the most important part of the pelvic floor muscle exercises as there is no point doing them if you are not doing them correctly.
Imagine letting go like you would to pass urine or to pass wind. Let your tummy muscles hang loose too. See if you can squeeze in and hold the muscles inside the pelvis while you breathe. Nothing above the belly button should tighten or tense. Some tensing and flattening of the lower part of the tummy wall will happen. This is not a problem, as this part of the tummy works together with the pelvic floor muscles.
Try tightening your muscles really gently to feel just the pelvic floor muscles lifting and squeezing in. If you cannot feel your muscles contracting, change your position and try again. For example, if you cannot feel your muscles contracting in a seated position, try lying down or standing up instead.
After a contraction it is important to relax the muscles. This will allow your muscles to recover from the previous contraction and prepare for the next contraction.
It is common to try too hard and have too many outside muscles tighten. This is an internal exercise and correct technique is vital. Doing pelvic floor muscle exercises the wrong way can be bad for you, so please see a health professional if you cannot feel your muscles hold or relax.
Exercising your pelvic floor muscles
Once you have mastered the art of contracting your pelvic floor muscles correctly, you can try holding the inward squeeze for longer (up to 10 seconds) before relaxing. Make sure you can breathe easily while you squeeze.
If you can do this exercise, repeat it up to 10 times, but only as long as you can do it with perfect technique while breathing quietly and keeping everything above the belly button relaxed. This can be done more often during the day to improve control.
Useful resources for exercising pelvic floor muscles:
When to seek professional help
Seek professional help when you have bladder or bowel control problems with symptoms such as:
- needing to urgently or frequently go to the toilet to pass urine or bowel motions
- accidental leakage of urine, bowel motions or wind
- difficulty emptying your bladder or bowel
- vaginal heaviness or a bulge
- pain in the bladder, bowel or in your back near the pelvic floor area when exercising the pelvic floor or during intercourse
These problems may not necessarily be linked to weak pelvic floor muscles and should be properly assessed.
Like all exercises, pelvic floor exercises are most effective when individually tailored and monitored. The exercises described are only a guide and may not help if done incorrectly or if the training is inappropriate.
Incontinence can have many causes and should be individually assessed before starting a pelvic floor muscle training program. Tightening or strengthening pelvic floor muscles may not be the most appropriate treatment so speak to a health professional if you have persistent problems with your bladder or bowel. Visit the Resources page for more information.
Continence and women’s health or pelvic floor physiotherapists specialise in pelvic floor muscle exercises. They can assess your pelvic floor function and tailor an exercise program to meet your specific needs. They can also prescribe other treatment options such as biofeedback and discuss relevant lifestyle factors with you.
For a list of continence and women’s health or pelvic floor physiotherapists, search the Continence Foundation of Australia’s service provider directory or call the National Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66.
You may also like to see:
Kegel Exercises – Female Urology – Urology Austin
The function of pelvic muscles is to help regulate the flow of urine. Subsequently, weak pelvic muscles can contribute to urinary leakage. For women, pelvic muscles may become weak after childbirth or menopause. For men, prostate surgery may weaken pelvic muscles. Kegel exercises were designed to help strengthen pelvic floor muscles and reduce or eliminate urinary leakage for both men and women.
Kegel exercises were invented by American gynecologist Dr. Arnold Kegel for controlling urinary leakage in women after childbirth. Over time, the importance of these exercises were recognized for the treatment of urinary and fecal incontinence.
The principle behind kegel exercises is to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor, thereby improving urethral and rectal sphincter function. The success of kegel exercises depends on proper technique and adherence to a regular exercise program.
How do kegel exercises work?
When practicing kegel exercises properly, and over a recommended period of time, they can provide several benefits. These benefits can include:
- Conditioned pelvic muscles may make childbirth easier, and the perineum is more likely to remain intact (fewer tears and episiotomies)
- Sexual enjoyment can be enhanced for both partners.
- It can prevent prolapses of pelvic organs.
- It can help prevent urinary leakage.
How to perform kegel exercises
Kegel exercises were developed to be easy enough for anyone to practice them, regardless of their mobility level. In fact, kegel exercises can be done while standing, sitting or lying down. To better understand what a kegel exercise feels like, follow this example the next time you are ready to urinate:
- Sit on the toilet and start to urinate.
- Try to stop the flow of urine midstream by contracting your pelvic floor muscles.
- Repeat this action several times until you become familiar with the feel of contracting the correct group of muscles. Do not contract your abdominal, thigh, or buttocks muscles.
- This method of contraction is a kegel exercise.
Another approach to help patient’s identify the correct muscle group is to insert a finger into the vagina (women), or rectum (men). Try to tighten the muscles around the finger as if holding back urine. The abdominal and thigh muscles should remain relaxed.
Practicing kegel exercises
When practicing kegel exercises the following formula is recommended:
- Tighten the pelvic floor muscles and hold for a count of 10.
- Relax the same muscles for a count of 10.
- Kegel exercises should be practiced for five minutes at a time, twice each day.
It generally takes from six to twelve weeks for most patients to notice a change in urine loss, depending on their circumstances.
Once the patient has attained their goal, exercises can be performed for five minutes, three times a week. This can be adjusted if urine leakage reappears. Some people may feel that they can speed up their progress by increasing the number of repetitions and the frequency of exercises. However, over-exercising may cause muscle fatigue and increase urine leakage.
Kegel exercises prior to prostate surgery
For men scheduled to undergo prostate surgery, it is recommended that they start kegel exercises six to eight weeks prior to surgery. Their exercises can be practiced during urination to include the following:
- Begin by locating the muscles to be exercised.
- Start urinating, and then try to stop or slow the flow of urine without tensing the leg, buttocks or abdomen muscles.
- When stopping or slowing the stream of urine, the patient will know that they have located the correct muscles.
- Patients should feel a sensation of the muscles pulling inward and upward.
For patients who are unsure if they are performing the procedure correctly, biofeedback and electrical stimulation may be used to help identify the correct muscle group to work with.
Biofeedback is a method of positive reinforcement. Electrodes are placed on the abdomen and along the anal area. Therapists place a sensor in the vagina (women) or rectum (men), to monitor the contraction of pelvic floor muscles. A monitor will display a graph showing the muscles that are contracting and those that are at rest. The therapist will then be able to show the patient the correct muscles for performing Kegel exercises.
If you have been experiencing incontinence and are interested in learning more about kegel exercises, contact Urology Austin to schedule an appointment. At Urology Austin, we have a physical therapist on staff who specializes in pelvic floor rehabilitation.
Clinics Chaika – Chaika.com
Kegel exercises help prevent the development of urinary incontinence, and also allow you to learn how to control this condition if it has already developed.
Kegel exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which support the uterus, bladder and rectum. If there are symptoms of pelvic floor muscle tension, Kegel exercises can increase this tension and worsen the symptoms.
Kegel exercises can help if you:
- lose a few drops of urine during coughing, sneezing and physical exertion;
- Have a strong intolerable urge before losing a lot of urine;
- you have fecal incontinence.
How to do Kegel exercises correctly:
- Find the correct muscle. To correctly identify the pelvic floor muscles, it is necessary to hold back the stream of urine while urinating. If you succeed, then you have found the right muscle.
- Improve your technique. Once you have identified the muscles you want, empty your bladder and lie on your back. Tighten your muscles, hold the contraction for five seconds, and then relax for five seconds. Repeat the exercise five times in a row.Continue exercising, gradually increasing the contraction and relaxation time to 10 seconds.
- Concentrate on the exercise. For best results, focus on the contractions of your pelvic floor muscles – never straining your abdominal muscles, thighs, or buttocks. Don’t hold your breath. Breathe freely and evenly as you exercise.
- Repeat the exercises three times a day. Exercise in blocks of 10 repetitions, three times a day.
- Do not perform Kegel exercises while urinating, stopping the flow of urine, this can lead to muscle weakening, incomplete emptying of the bladder, which carries the risk of urinary infection.
Kegel exercises should be part of your daily routine. You can do them at any time – while working in the office or at home while watching TV.
In order to achieve the effect, it is necessary to exercise daily for at least two months.
If it seems to you that you are doing Kegel exercises incorrectly or they do not give the desired result, you should consult a doctor who will diagnose pelvic floor muscle disorders and show you which muscles need to be contracted during exercise.
It is worth starting to exercise after consulting a doctor, who will determine the cause of the problem, tell you how likely it is to cure or reduce the severity of symptoms with exercise.
Urinary incontinence: exercises to improve bladder control
The main muscles responsible for urinary retention are the pelvic floor muscles. Ideally, they allow a person to control urination. However, in some individuals, the pelvic floor muscles are weakened, which may result in urine leakage or difficulty controlling urine flow.
There are many causes of urinary incontinence, including: pregnancy and childbirth, which can weaken the pelvic floor muscles; prolonged constipation, which puts additional pressure on the bladder; untreated urinary tract infections or inflammation; weight gain, which puts additional pressure on the bladder; vaginal surgery in women or for prostate cancer in men.
To cope with urinary incontinence, it is important to do certain physical exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.The latter are located around the opening of the urethra, vagina and rectum in women. Like all muscles, they need training. Doctors often recommend Kegel exercises as a way to strengthen these muscles and control the bladder. To begin their implementation, it is important for a person to determine which muscles should be trained. To do this, you can use the following methods: when preparing to urinate, focus on stopping the flow of urine, focus on the sensation of the pelvic floor muscles, stopping the flow of urine or at least slowing it down.Men will be able to see small movements of the penis and scrotum as these muscles contract.
Once a person has identified the pelvic floor muscles that require training, you should focus on doing Kegel exercises 2 times a day. For this you need:
- to contract the muscles of the pelvic floor, as if to stop the flow of urine;
- keep the muscles in a contracted state for 3 s;
- relax muscles;
- repeat this procedure 25 times.
As your muscles get stronger, you can increase your repetition rate from 25 to 50 by doing 2-3 times a day. Kegel exercises while urinating can affect a person’s ability to empty the bladder completely, which can lead to a bladder infection, so they should not be done while urinating. In addition to Kegel exercises, there are other methods of training the pelvic floor muscles using short and long muscle contractions.
Short cuts . The goal of this exercise is to contract your pelvic floor muscles as quickly as possible and then relax them. It must be performed 2 times a day for 10 repetitions.
Prolonged reductions . The purpose of this exercise is to contract the pelvic floor muscles and hold them in this state for 10 seconds, and then relax. Do 10 repetitions 3 times a day.
The National Association For Continence recommends performing both short and long contractions of the pelvic floor muscles in a single workout.These exercises should be done for about 3 to 6 months before the person feels the benefits of bladder control.
Both men and women with an overactive bladder and urinary incontinence can experience the beneficial effects of pelvic floor muscle strengthening exercises. Women can also use certain tools to train these muscles, such as the vaginal cone.
Other ways to control the bladder include dietary changes – reducing the amount of food that irritates the bladder and reducing the amount of fluids you drink before bed, medication to reduce bladder spasm, and surgery.
Based on materials from www.medicalnewstoday.com
90,000 Treatment methods for urinary incontinence
Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles
The pelvic floor muscles act as straps to hold the bladder and bladder neck in suspension and also form the external sphincter. If these muscles weaken, the pelvic organs move downward, resulting in 90,085 urinary incontinence 90,086. Before you start doing the Pelvic Floor Muscle Strengthening Exercise (Kegel Exercises), you need to correctly identify these muscles.To do this, you need to arbitrarily suspend the process of urination. Regular Kegel exercises (contractions of the pelvic floor muscles with a delay in their relaxation) can strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor and reduce urine output during stress and urge incontinence. These exercises should be performed daily at different body positions: sitting, standing and lying, repeating 5 times in a row, delaying each contraction by 1-5, while only the pelvic floor muscles should be strained, without involving the abdominal muscles and hips in this process …Exercises can be performed at a table, while driving, while reading or watching television. The effect of daily exercise is possible no earlier than in 2-3 months.
For urge incontinence, pelvic floor muscle strengthening exercises can also be used to retrain the bladder. At the moment of contraction of the external sphincter, signals are given to relax the bladder, thus, the urge to urinate is gradually blocked.Every time you feel the urge to urinate, try to stop the feeling by contracting your pelvic floor muscles. Try to delay this contraction a little longer than the previous one. You will feel an improvement in 2-3 weeks.
Diet for urinary incontinence
Certain foods can irritate the bladder and are best avoided if you have urinary incontinence. These include carbonated and caffeinated drinks, alcohol, citrus fruits and juices, spicy foods, artificial sweeteners.To avoid dehydration, you need to drink enough fluids. Restricting fluid intake can irritate the bladder and worsen urinary incontinence.
Drug therapy for urinary incontinence
Prescribing pharmacological agents depends on the type of urinary incontinence and the underlying causes. In an overactive bladder, medications can reduce the incidence of urinary incontinence, the frequency and urgency of the urge to urinate, and increase the volume of urine excreted.Modern medicines are effective and safe. With estrogen deficiency, estrogen replacement therapy is prescribed, if urinary incontinence is caused by an infection, antibiotics.
If therapeutic methods are ineffective for stress urinary incontinence, surgical treatment is sought. The type of surgery depends on the type of urinary incontinence, the severity of the condition, and the general well-being of the patient.
Exercises for training pelvic muscles
These exercises are a special kind of gymnastics aimed at strengthening the tone of the pelvic muscles .
Pelvic muscles – muscles that carry and support internal organs. They participate in the emptying process of the bladder by opening and closing the lumen of the urethra. Weakened pelvic floor muscles cannot fully perform their functions, which leads to unwanted urine output.
The pelvic muscles are able to voluntarily contract and relax. When urinating, you can feel the work of these muscles. After emptying the bladder, after a short period of time, the pelvic muscles relax.And it is on this muscle group that the training will be directed.
The breathing process is in close interaction with the muscles of the small pelvis. When inhaling, the chest increases in size, respectively, the volume of the abdominal cavity decreases. In this case, the pressure on the pelvic muscles increases.
Warm-up to relax the pelvic muscles
Before starting the exercises, it is recommended to carry out a warm-up aimed at relaxing the muscles of the pelvic floor. It does this by moving the force of pressure in the pelvis.Duration approx. 5 min.
Kneeling, bend your upper body forward. Focus on your forearms. Place your head on your hands.
Exercises for the muscles of the small pelvis
These exercises increase the tone of the pelvic muscles.
Please maintain correct breathing while exercising. Inhale – The pelvic muscles are relaxed. Exhale – the muscles contract. Perform each exercise as many times as you like.
1) Cross your legs while standing, sitting or lying down. When exhaling, try to move your feet away from each other.
2) Sit on a hard chair, round your back. Concentrate on the pelvic area. As you exhale, contract the muscles of the anus.
3) The contraction of the muscles in the pelvic area can be better felt with the following exercise: place a roller between your legs (you can make it from a towel), sit down on it, assuming the pose of a rider.When exhaling, tense your muscles. When inhaling, relax.
With tension, the pelvic muscles contract and retract into the pelvic area. When relaxed, the muscles soften and sink. Try to exercise regularly, preferably daily.
The more often and more intense the training, the more effective it is.
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Exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles
Contents of the article:
The pelvic floor muscles play an important role in maintaining the normal position of the pelvic organs, in addition, they take part in the regulation of intra-abdominal pressure, control the work of the bladder.In everyday life, we do not often load these muscles and this leads to various negative consequences for our health.
Why strengthen your pelvic floor muscles?
One of the unpleasant consequences of a decrease in the tone of the pelvic floor muscles is incontinence. Especially often such moments occur in women. This is due to age-related changes or other stressful events for the body. For example, often the elasticity of the pelvic floor muscles decreases after the birth of a baby, when the body takes some time to recover.
To prevent the undesirable consequences of a decrease in muscle tone, you can include a set of exercises in your daily gymnastics, which helps to strengthen the pelvic muscles. We will describe these exercises in more detail below. Such training will be useful not only for women, but also for men, even when there are no problems with incontinence.
What is Kegel Exercise?
Muscle strengthening technique involves physical exertion of muscles and alternating tension and relaxation of muscles for certain periods of time.To strengthen the muscles, special complexes have been developed, the most famous, perhaps, is the Kegel exercise complex. This is one of the simplest ways to help strengthen the muscles and allow you to cope with ailment with mild incontinence.
The set of Kegel exercises includes workouts of varying difficulty, which involve the muscles of the intimate zone and help to strengthen them. The training cycle can last from 8 to 12 weeks before the first results can be seen.
All exercises are based on the idea of alternating several types of activities:
- muscle contraction,
All exercises can be combined with gymnastics aimed at strengthening the gluteal muscles and developing flexibility of the hip joints, as well as a complex for stretching the back and inner thighs.
It is important to do these exercises regularly and gradually increase the difficulty and duration of the sessions.
It is better to start training with small exercises. At this stage, you need to learn how to contract the muscles, simulating the cessation of urine flow. It is enough to perform ten squeezes, contractions and expulsions, but with a high frequency, at least 5 times a day.Kegel exercises can be done at any time and in any place absolutely invisible to others. Once you have mastered the base load, gradually increase the amount of exercise – add 5 exercises weekly. Gradually, you will be able to do 150 exercises a day.
Activities in gymnastics to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor
This exercise involves tensioning the muscles of the intimate area. First – tension for 3 seconds, and then relaxation.Gradually increase the time to 5-20 seconds. There should be a short break between exercise cycles. Do not forget about your feelings, it is important to be in a comfortable state.
This series of exercises involves alternating muscle contraction and relaxation with greater intensity.
This type of exercise involves muscles that are usually activated when a person pushes during stool or childbirth.
Contraindications to Kegel exercises
Kegel exercises, like any other physical activity, bring undoubted benefits to our health, but in order not to harm yourself, it is better to adhere to some restrictions.
Do not continue to practice if pain occurs. It is also better to refrain from exercise during inflammatory processes of the genitourinary system and during menstruation (for women).
During the recovery period from recent injuries, it is best to avoid physical activity.
How to do Kegel exercises?
- Take the starting position – standing . Place your feet shoulder-width apart and bend your knees slightly.Lean forward with your back straight. Place your palms on your knees. Next, start breathing exercises: slowly inhale and exhale. As you inhale, pull in your lower abdomen, as you exhale, relax and release your belly. Do this exercise 10-30 times, depending on your capabilities. Ten repetitions are enough to start.
- Take the starting position – lying on your back, place your arms along the body, and bend your legs at the knees . As you inhale, lift your buttocks off the floor and contract your pelvic floor muscles for 5-10 seconds and hold your breath.As you exhale, take a starting position. Perform this exercise, depending on your condition and capabilities, from 10 to 30 times.
- Get on all fours and arch your back . Do alternate leg swings 10 to 30 times. This exercise is aimed at strengthening the back of the thighs.
- Take a starting position – sitting on a chair . Squeeze your knees firmly until you feel tension in your hips and count to 10.Maintain muscle tension. Then relax and repeat the exercise 10 more times. You can use a ball for this exercise. The ball is squeezed between the thighs and held for 10 seconds.
- Take the starting position – sitting on the buttocks on the floor with straight legs . Move forward with straight legs. Alternate active movements for 10 seconds with relaxation and rest for 5 seconds. You need to do 10 reps.
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Factors that worsen the condition with an overactive bladder
You yourself may not want this, but provoke a worsening of your condition with an overactive bladder.Fortunately, there are some things you can do to your advantage that push you into the washroom.
Don’t rush to the bathroom right away
This is a good way to manage an overactive bladder. After all, you don’t want to run the risk of urinary incontinence, right? But going to the restroom after every urge is doing you a disservice.
Doctors who deal with the problem of an overactive bladder suggest that it is better to practice restraining the urge to urinate.This helps strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and you can better control your bladder spasms.
To train your bladder, your doctor may even put you on a schedule. So, instead of going to the restroom on demand, you will visit it regularly, for example, every hour. When you train your muscles a little, you will use the bathroom a little less often. Your bladder will learn to relax and you will find that it becomes easier for you to control the urge to urinate.
Do not stop doing pelvic floor exercises
Most often, overactive bladder is a chronic condition; your condition may improve, but the problem will most likely never go away completely. For starters, doctors may recommend doing specific exercises (such as Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles) to help you regain control of urination. At first, many people do these exercises like crazy, but then, over time, they gradually stop doing it.And when the unpleasant symptoms return, they wonder why.
To truly control your symptoms, you need to do pelvic floor strengthening exercises for the rest of your life. But that 5 minutes a day will make a huge difference to your quality of life.
Don’t drink too much caffeine
Research shows that reducing your caffeine intake to less than 100 mg per day can actually help you improve urinary control.This means drinking no more than one cup of coffee a day.
For some people, simply cutting back on caffeine is sufficient. Others, however, should rule it out entirely. Observe what works best for you, but reduce your intake gradually. Withdrawing caffeine abruptly can give you headaches.
Don’t drink too much alcohol
Alcohol makes your body produce more urine, which means you have to go to the bathroom more often.Plus, alcohol stimulates your bladder to work, which means you’ll have an urge to urinate more often. Drinking alcohol in the evening can be especially difficult to control.
You may not give up alcohol entirely, but this reduction in drinking is a good starting point. If this turns out to be helpful, you can take a serving or two from time to time, as long as it does not worsen your symptoms.
Medicines you take to treat other medical conditions
Many medications may affect your bladder, including the following:
- Diuretics or diuretics used for heart failure or high blood pressure
- Sedatives and muscle relaxants
- Antihistamines for allergies and colds, and possibly stomach ulcers
- Antipsychotics and antidepressants for depression or mood disorders
- Calcium channel blockers for high blood pressure or migraine
- Anticholinergics for asthma, COPD or GI disease
- Estrogen preparations
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers (NSAIDs) such as Advil (ibuprofen) and Aleve (naproxen sodium)
- OTC cold medicines
Tell your doctor about all medicines, vitamins and supplements you are taking, especially those listed above.You may need to try a different medicine or change your dose. It can help you manage your overactive bladder.
Kegel exercises. What is it and why are they needed. Gynecologist’s advice Slobodyanyuk B.A.
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First appointment with a gynecologist
Reappointment of the gynecologist
Dr. Arnold Kegel, an American gynecologist, developed exercise as a non-surgical treatment for incontinence and prolapse in women of the pelvic organs.These exercises are recommended by many doctors as treatment or prevention of various diseases. Today we will talk about when it is worth doing these exercises – who and what they can help, as well as the technique and correctness of their implementation.
- For new mothers
90,009 Women and men over 50 years 90,010
Why do Kegel exercises?
- In the presence of postpartum complications:
- stress urinary incontinence,
- looseness of the vagina, making it difficult to achieve sexual satisfaction,
- prolapse of the reproductive organ and vagina.
Performing Kegel exercises allows you to quickly return to successful intercourse, since many women after the birth of a child complain that their vagina has become wider, and this leads to discomfort. Exercise narrows the vaginal opening and increases the elasticity of the vaginal walls, which leads to increased sensations during intercourse.
About 30% of women in childbirth naturally complain of urinary incontinence, that is, its involuntary discharge, for example, during exercise, coughing or even laughing.This is due to the stretching of the muscles and ligaments of the pelvic floor, as a result of which the bladder descends, and its wall compresses the urethra, as a result of which its opening expands.
Kegel exercises (and in general sports, what is already there) help get rid of this unpleasant ailment, as well as get rid of constipation and hemorrhoids that may arise.
Problems with urination are observed, of course, not only in pregnant women, so such gymnastics is useful to everyone who suffers from it – both men and women.
How to train Kegel muscles.
At the first stage of the exercise, you should tighten the muscles of the anus, hold them for a few seconds, and then relax. You need to repeat this exercise several times.
You can enable breathing during exercise. Tightening the muscles, take a deep breath, and with relaxation, exhale. By squeezing the muscles, you can make some kind of movement, for example, raise your leg or stand up. Exercises can be performed several times a day for 10 repetitions (in total, preferably 100-200 times a day).
There are also various types of objects that facilitate exercise, for example, vaginal balls or cones (special weights that a woman holds in the vagina for a certain time), etc.
There is a very good method – a portable vaginal electrostimulator, when the necessary muscles are stimulated with the help of an electric current. Subsequently, the woman understands how to properly contract these muscles herself.
You can also do squats, but shallow ones so that the angle at the knees is no more than 90 degrees.
The advantage of such workouts is that they can be performed everywhere, for example, at work, at the table, while walking, etc. “In general, yoga, and any physical exercise, physical activity has a very beneficial effect on the pelvic floor. If patients are overweight or obese, we definitely recommend correcting this. ” – says Boris Alexandrovich.
He also advises, before starting training, to check with a doctor who is engaged in gynecology, urogynecology or physiotherapy and will be able to control both the strength of the development of these muscles and the correctness of the exercises: “Because many women strain antagonist muscles, for example, the abdominal muscles, who at the time of exercise should not participate.Therefore, we recommend keeping your hands on your stomach in order not to strain these muscles. ”
You can also try to “find” the muscles you want in the toilet – just try to stop urinating. So you will understand which muscles have to work.
But when will we see the result?
Here, unfortunately, everything is individual. And the problems, and muscles, and sports training, and even willpower are different for everyone. But there are two important points that directly affect the result:
- We train more often – the effect comes faster.
Good luck to everyone on the way to health!
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