Between constant trips to the bathroom and a near constant fear of leakage, incontinence can disrupt everyday life and create a lot of stress and anxiety in a woman's life. Although it is not always possible to get rid of urinary incontinence, there are some exercises you can do to help strengthen your pelvic area, which can help prevent leaks.
One of the most popular of the exercises for urinary incontinence, Kegel's helps to keep the urethral sphincter working properly and strengthen pelvic floor muscles. To practice them, contract these muscles as if trying to stop urine flow, and hold for three seconds. Relax for three more seconds, and then repeat. It's recommended to do three sets of 10 repetitions every day, since continued practice is needed to help with incontinence.When first starting out, it's best to find a calm and comfortable setting such as a bathroom or bedroom to improve concentration. Once you understand how to do Kegel's you can do them anywhere.
Vaginal Cone Exercises
Vaginal cone exercises are similar to Kegels, but they're slightly more intense as far as exercises for incontinence go. Before beginning, place a vaginal cone - available online or in some pharmacies - inside the vagina. Squeeze the pelvic floor muscles, as if stopping a urinary flow, to hold the cone in place. This is generally done twice daily for up to 15 minutes, and it's said to show improvement within four to six weeks. Cones come in various weights and sizes to fit different needs.
Scheduled Bathroom Breaks
Keep a schedule and write down when you go to the bathroom throughout the day. Try to slowly cut back on how frequently you go to the bathroom, and increase the amount of time you are able to hold it for. You can also try double voiding, which is going to the bathroom twice in a row to make sure your bladder is as empty as possible.
Pilates is a good exercise for people with urinary incontinence, because it involves a lot of stretching and strengthening of core muscles which can help strengthen the pelvic area and prevent urinary incontinence.
Although high impact exercises, weight lifting, and sit-ups can all trigger urinary incontinence you should not stop yourself from doing exercises that you enjoy. If you choose to practice these sports, it's a good idea to go to the bathroom beforehand.
These exercises may help some women with urinary incontinence, but there are many different types of urinary incontinence, which each have different causes. If urinary incontinence is bothering you, making you avoid certain social situations, or lowering your quality of life in anyway, it is important to see a doctor. Read for further information towards managing incontinence and other menopause symptoms
- National Institutes of Health. (2014). Stress Incontinence. Retrieved from https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000891.htm
- National Health Services UK. (2015). 10 ways to stop leaks. Retrieved from http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/incontinence/Pages/10waystostoptheleaks.aspx
- Nitti, V. W. (2001). The Prevalence of Urinary Incontinence. Reviews in Urology, 3(Suppl 1), S2-S6.
- Mount Carmel. (2013). Bladder Training-Timed Voiding. Retrieved from http://www.mccn.edu/library/patienteducation/duplicatenetitp_/patienteducatio_/exerciseandreha_/pelvicfloorther_/bladdertraining/BladderTraining-TimedVoiding.pdf