Take back control of your sensitive bladder! Physical therapy is one of the best ways. The easiest type of therapy is pelvic floor exercises or Kegel exercises, which strengthen your pelvic floor and help treat both stress incontinence and urge incontinence.
Pelvic floor exercises are easy and you can do them anytime, anywhere. Just follow this simple how–to to start strengthening your pelvic floor muscles right now!
How to do Pelvic Floor and Kegel Exercises
You can start toning your pelvic muscles as you read. Just follow these simple steps.
- Squeeze the muscles that you use to stop your urine flow. Make sure to focus on only your pelvic muscles. Now pretend your vagina is a lift and you are going upwards. Be careful not to squeeze the muscles of the leg, buttock or abdomen instead.
- Hold for at least 4 seconds. The more often you do this, the “higher” you can go. Try holding for up to 10 seconds.
- Slowly exhale through your mouth and gradually release the hold. Repeat 10–20 times in a row at least 3 times a day.
- You can test your pelvic floor muscles with a simple stop–start test. When using the bathroom, begin to urinate and cut off the flow by contracting the muscles. If you experience better control than before, you know the pelvic floor exercises are working.
Making Kegel Exercises a Routine
Here are some ideas for fitting pelvic floor exercises into your schedule. Try to work your kegel exercises into existing routines to help make your pelvic floor stronger. That way, you can use it when you need it.
- Driving. As long as your Kegel exercises don’t distract you from driving, flex and release on your way to the grocery store, as you leave the bank, or en route to any other errands you run regularly.
- Cooking. Try to focus on your pelvic floor muscles as you carry out simple, routine cooking tasks, like stirring a pot or washing up dishes.
- Watching TV. Have favorite programs you never miss? Exercise as you view – no one around you even knows you’re busy re–claiming control of your bladder!
- At work. Do you work at a desk for extended periods? Use any downtime to work out those pelvic floor muscles.
- Reading. Whether it’s the morning paper or that newest novel you can’t put down, reading as you exercise helps your repetitions fly by.
- Bedtime. As you wind down each night, finish your last set of Kegel exercises before drifting off to sleep. If you keep at it, nightmares of bed pads may be a thing of the past.
After 4–6 weeks of working out your pelvic floor muscles regularly, you may start to notice an improvement in your urinary incontinence symptoms.
If you’ve made a habit of Kegel or pelvic floor exercises and don’t notice an improvement in your sensitive bladder symptoms, it’s time to talk to your doctor. He or she may recommend combining pelvic floor exercises with other treatments like sensitive bladder training or other medications, devices, or procedures to help you manage your incontinence.
If you’ve tried and have trouble doing Kegel exercises, you may want to see a physical therapist who specializes in women’s pelvic health. A physical therapist may suggest biofeedback.
Biofeedback is a training technique that may be useful if you have problems locating the correct muscles. With biofeedback, you're connected to electrical sensors that help you receive information (feedback) about your body (bio). This feedback helps you focus on making subtle changes in your body, such as flexing your pelvic muscles, more successfully.