How To Properly Exercise Your Kegels And Stop Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinence is a surprisingly common condition in which the individual is unable to prevent a small leakage of urine from their urethra. This often occurs when the muscles contract such as when you laugh, sneeze or exercise. Although symptoms of urinary incontinence are most common in those who have undergone childbirth, incontinence can happen at any age and is not something to be ashamed about.
What urinary incontinence means is that the strength of your urinary sphincter has been lost or you have weak pelvic muscles. To help regain your strength and to fight back against symptoms of urinary incontinence, you simply need to work through a series of kegel exercises.
Finding your kegel muscles
Kegel muscles, also known as your pelvic floor muscles, are the muscles you use to urinate. To find these muscles, stop urinating midstream the next time you use the bathroom. The muscles you use to stop urinating are the ones you're going to strengthen.
However, it's important to note that you should not stop urinating midstream as a means of exercise. This will not build the strength of your pelvic floor muscles. Instead, it can cause urinary infections or kidney stones.
Using the right technique
Like with any exercise, it's important that you know the correct technique for strengthening your kegel muscles in order to prevent pain or muscle damage. After you have identified your pelvic floor muscles, proceed with your kegel exercises while lying down.
While the symptoms of urinary incontinence can be treated from any position using kegel exercises, it's best to begin these exercises while lying down in order to understand the proper technique.
Once you're lying down, proceed with your exercises by tightening the pelvic muscles you found earlier. Tighten these muscles and hold for up to five seconds, then relax them for another five seconds. Repeat up to five times. Over the course of your pelvic floor muscle strengthening, you should work your way up to tightening the pelvic muscles for 10 seconds at a time and then relaxing for 10 seconds.
For the best results to treat the causes of urinary incontinence:
- Focus only on the pelvic floor muscles
- Do not flex the muscles of your thighs, buttocks, or abdomen
- Do not hold your breath
- Begin with three sets of five a day
- Work yourself up to three sets of 10 a day
Tip: Try to do each group of exercises in a different position; sitting, or standing or lying down. As the muscles become stronger, increase the length of time you hold each slow pull-up or long squeeze.
Please know that any exercise is only as effective if you do it correctly. It's really hard to tell if you're doing the exercise correctly, which is why some physical therapists may recommend devices to help with your pelvic floor strength, like Yarlap.
Urinary incontinence can often be embarrassing or irritating for many women. Stress incontinence and urge incontinence are two of the most common types of urinary incontinence. Up to 30% of those suffering from weak pelvic floor muscles have urge incontinence. Fortunately, with the right kegel exercises and the right amount of strengthening you should be able to get your kegel muscles back up to their natural strength again.