About Your Pelvic Floor Muscles
Your pelvic floor muscles make up the bottom of your pelvis and support your pelvic organs . Theyre the muscles that relax when youre urinating , passing gas, or having a bowel movement . You also use these muscles to hold in your urine and prevent urine leakage.
Figure 1. Your pelvic floor muscles
Manage Your Symptoms For Free
While these exercises can help increase your pelvic floor strength, another great option is to use incontinence products.
Adult pull-ons or bladder control pads can help manage leakage even when it happens at the most inopportune times.
If you dont want to make trips to the store or spend income on incontinence products, Aeroflow Urology is your answer. We supply free incontinence supplies through Medicaid and some private insurance plans.
Simply fill out our eligibility form to see if you qualify for free incontinence supplies.
Well reach out to you and help you choose the perfect products for your lifestyle. Then, theyll be shipped directly to your door each month in discreet packaging.
How Do I Do A Kegel Exercise
The general approach for learning and practicing Kegel exercises is as follows:
- Since the muscles are sometimes difficult to isolate, initial visits with a pelvic floor physical therapists may be indicated. Old methods of isolating these muscles involved contracting the muscles in the pelvic area during urination with intention of slowing or stopping the flow of urine. We do not encourage this however, as it can sometimes lead to voiding dysfunction.
- An alternate approach is to isolate the muscles used in Kegel contractions by sensing then squeezing and lifting the muscles in the rectum that are used in passing gas.
- The first method is used for strengthening the pelvic floor muscles. The patient slowly contracts and lifts the muscles and holds for 5 seconds, then releases them. There is a rest of 10 seconds between contractions.
- The second method is simply a quick contraction and release. The object of this exercise is to learn to shut off the urine flow rapidly.
- In general, patients should perform 5-15 contractions, three to five times daily.
Some notes of caution:
Recommended Reading: Urinary Tract Infection And Bv
Drying Up Urinary Incontinence
Here are several of the pill-free methods for fighting urinary incontinence recommended by the American College of Physicians and how they help:
Kegel exercises work for all kinds of urinary incontinence. They strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which are used to hold in urine. Kegels are done by repeatedly squeezing and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles. Step-by-step instructions for doing Kegels are available from the Harvard Womens Health Watch. If you have trouble doing Kegels, or they dont seem to be working, a physical therapist can use techniques like biofeedback to help you find the right muscles to squeeze. Pelvic floor physical therapy can also improve posture, which helps keep pelvic floor muscles functioning properly.
Bladder training helps you learn to gradually increase the amount of urine you can comfortably hold. Its most often recommended for women with an overactive bladder. Many women do not know that they should be able to wait three to six hours between urinating. Bladder training retrains the way the brain and bladder interact to give the woman more bladder control, says Dr. Wakamatsu.
Weight loss and exercise can help women who are overweight or obese. Extra weight puts extra pressure on the bladder and pelvic muscles. Losing weight through a healthy diet and exercise helps relieve urinary incontinence. Studies have also shown that middle-aged women who are most physically active are least likely to develop incontinence.
About the Author
How Is Urinary Incontinence Treated
Treatment methods for bladder weakness include methods such as behavioral therapies and pelvic floor training, as well as various medications and surgical procedures. Bladder weakness can usually be treated effectively and, in some cases, can even be cured.
For older people with overactive bladder, stress incontinence and mixed incontinence, the main approach to treatment is behavioral therapy in the form of toilet habit re-training, as this is not associated with any side effects. This involves defining a personalized schedule for emptying the bladder, timed voiding and bladder re-training.
There are also many other treatment options based on the cause of the urinary incontinence:
You May Like: Will Az Pack Help A Urinary Tract Infection
You May Like: Myasthenia Gravis And Urinary Incontinence
Cool It On Spicy Foods
Spicy foods may taste great but as many of us have experienced, they often lead to an upset stomach. Similar to caffeine, spicy foods work to irritate the lining of the bladder causing an increased urgency to rush to the bathroom. If you love spice, you dont have to entirely eliminate it from your diet, but do your best to cut back on foods such as spicy mexican dishes, hot wings, and horseradish.While there is no direct cure for incontinence, updating your daily diet to include just some of these tips will drastically help to improve your bladder health. Weight loss, one of the best ways to positively affect your incontinence, may also be an added benefit to the food swaps listed above.
Recommended Reading: Can Overactive Bladder Cause Bloating
Include Protein And Healthy Fats
Aim to include lean proteins and healthy fats at each meal or snack, as these are less likely to bother your bladder. Check out these bladder-friendly foods you can include in your diet.
Bladder-friendly snack ideas:
- Small handful of nuts or seeds and dried fruit
- Peanut butter or almond butter on slices of apple or banana
- Oatmeal with nuts and berries
- Scrambled eggs with spinach and red peppers
- Salad with sunflower seeds, leafy greens, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, and carrots
- Grilled fish or poultry, vegetables, and brown rice
Don’t Miss: Can A Urinary Tract Infection Heal On Its Own
Will The Type Of Treatment Youre On Affect Your Diet
There are many medications that are available to treat overactive bladder. Most of these medications work by relaxing the bladder muscles to prevent bladder spasms. They can, however, have side effects, and those may in turn affect what you eat and drink.
A common side effect of OAB medications is dry mouth. This may cause you to drink more water than normal, which may then increase your oab symptoms. Keep an eye on how much water youre consuming, and try to take small sips throughout the day to avoid overloading your bladder.
Constipation is another potential side effect of OAB. Constipation places increased pressure on your bladder a problem in general, but especially when you have overactive bladder. Patients who experience constipation can help relieve this symptom by eating fiber rich foods, such as the ones listed above.
Talk to your doctor about any potential side effects of OAB medications you may be taking or considering.
OAB can be a frustrating condition, and one that can be tricky to treat. Talk to your doctor about the diet changes you can make to improve your symptoms, and incorporate some of the tips above. With a few small tweaks to what you eat, you may soon be on to drier days.
Read Also: Lack Of Bladder Control Uti
Kegel Exercises And Muscle Training
You can also do special pelvic floor exercises, or Kegel exercises, in addition to regular exercise. Kegel exercises strengthen the muscles to minimize involuntary contractions and improve posture. Its also one of the safest behavioral therapies without side effects and complications.
To do Kegel exercises:
You can also talk to a physical therapist to see if youre squeezing the right muscles.
Read Also: What Can I Drink For Overactive Bladder
Also Check: Does Urinary Tract Infection Go Away
Should I Do Kegel Exercises
Many factors, including pregnancy and childbirth, surgery, and getting older, can weaken pelvic floor muscles. If these muscles are weak, you may start to leak small amounts of urine, stool, or gas.
Kegel exercises strengthen these muscles, helping you to stop these leaks.1,2 Studies suggest that pelvic floor muscle training may also improve sexual function.3,4
Pelvic floor muscle training can help both women and men. But in some cases, practicing these exercises may not be a good option. Check with your health care professional before you begin.
Are There Gender Differences In Exercises For Overactive Bladder
Both men and women can experience overactive bladder and urinary incontinence and benefit from exercises. However, women traditionally have greater difficulty singling out the muscles that should be tightened to strengthen the pelvic floor.
Exercises are an excellent, nonsurgical way to work to relieve overactive bladder and incontinence symptoms. These exercises can be used as a complementary therapy to additional treatments that can be used to treat incontinence.
- Dietary changes: Reducing the intake of foods known to cause bladder irritation and reducing fluid intake before a person goes to bed can reduce the incidence of overactive bladder, especially at night.
- Medications: Medications can reduce spasms that cause the bladder to excessively contract and relax. Examples of these medications include oxybutynin, solfienacin, or tolterodine.
- Surgery: If a persons symptoms do not respond to non-invasive treatments, surgeries to repair pelvic organs can help. Other surgical approaches can vary based on the likely cause of a persons incontinence.
If overactive bladder or poor bladder control affect a persons quality of life, they should seek medical treatment.
Sometimes, nerve damage can cause urinary problems.
Common causes include:
Try To Prevent Constipation
Constipation causes the colon to swell and strain because of increased abdominal muscle pressure. This can adversely affect the bladder muscles and may also increase the frequency and severity of OAB symptoms.
Eating more fiber, getting regular exercise, and staying hydrated can help prevent constipation. In addition, there are certain yoga poses including the Crescent Lunge, Cobra, and Legs up the Wall that can help relieve constipation and promote healthy bowel movements.
Those who experience chronic constipation should talk with a doctor to learn more about other ways to help manage their constipation more effectively, such as by taking medications or trying physical therapy.
Can This Injury Or Condition Be Prevented
Once individuals are performing pelvic-floor muscle contractions daily and correctly, they can begin to incorporate the exercises into their activities of daily living. Developing healthy bladder habits, such as regular and timed bathroom visits, and avoiding potential bladder irritants such as caffeine, can be helpful lifestyle changes for people with urinary incontinence.
Your physical therapist can provide information about:
- Diet and nutrition, to help you avoid food and drinks that may irritate the bladder.
- Changing the behaviors that make your symptoms worse.
- Techniques to decrease urinary urge and frequency, such as muscle strengthening or stretching.
- Maintaining a healthy bathroom schedule.
- Maintaining bowel regularity.
You May Like: How To Cure Urinary Tract Infection At Home
Relaxation Techniques And Exercises For Oab
Various treatment options are available to treat overactive bladder. For example, in addition to medication, lifestyle changes may help reduce the symptoms. Exercises that relax and strengthen the bladder are also useful.
Exercises that help relax the bladder muscles may help reduce symptoms of overactive bladder. In addition, performing exercises that strengthen the muscles and support the bladder may also help reduce urine leakage and incontinence.
It is best to talk with your healthcare provider to determine which exercises may be most beneficial. Below are examples of typical techniques and exercises for OAB.
1. Kegel Exercises
Kegel exercises help strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor that support the bladder. If you have an overactive bladder, weak pelvic floor muscles can contribute to urine leakage.
To perform a Kegel, squeeze the muscles you use to stop the flow of urine. Hold the squeeze for about five seconds and relax. Repeat the exercise about five times. As the muscles get stronger, increase the duration to about 10 seconds. Perform Kegels a few times a day or as instructed by your doctor.
Is Botox for overactive bladder an effective treatment option? People report an improvement in symptoms, but there are some risks to consider.
2. Quick Contractions
5. Deep Breathing
Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor Muscles
Once you locate your pelvic floor muscles you are ready to begin. The exercise involves squeezing then relaxing your pelvic floor muscles. Squeeze the muscles for five seconds and then relax the muscles for five seconds. Be sure to take the time to relax between squeezes so that your muscles can rest before squeezing again. Each squeeze and relax counts as one repetition.
Each set of exercises should include three different positions: 10 repetitions lying down, 10 sitting, and 10 standing. Do one set in the morning and one set at night .
You May Like: How To Treat A Urinary Tract Infection In A Man
Tighten Your Pelvic Floor With Kegel Exercises
Kegels, or pelvic floor muscle exercises, can benefit both men and women who have urinary incontinence by strengthening the muscles that support the bladder. This, in turn, helps prevent urine leaks and the feeling of urgency that comes with overactive bladder. And Kegels couldnt be easier to do: Per the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, simply squeeze or tighten your pelvic floor muscles these are the same muscles you use to stop the flow of urine or passing gas for a count of three and then slowly relax them for a count of three. Kegels are so easy, you can do them anytime even while sitting in your car at a stoplight or at your desk at work. Build up to doing one set of 10 to 15 squeezes, three times a day, and your bladder control should improve within six weeks.
Empty Your Bladder When Urinating
When using the restroom, relax as much as possible. Its best not to rush, and its best to take your time. Keeping your bladder muscles relaxed can help to empty the bladder more easily. By emptying your bladder, you reduce the risk of a urinary tract infection. One way of emptying the bladder: after urinating, lean a little forward and try to urinate again. This forward movement helps to empty the bladder.
You May Like: Can Bladder Leakage Be Fixed
Read Also: Urinary Tract Medicine For Cats
Kegels Or Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises
Kegel exercises can strengthen your pelvic floor strength, improve bladder function, and possibly even completely eliminate leakage.
As a first step, identify the pelvic floor muscles by stopping urination midstream. You should feel a clench inside the pelvic region that is holding it in. These are the muscles you will need to target for these two forms of Kegels.5
Try and do about 3 sets of short and long contractions each with 10 repetitions per set, twice a day. The focus needs to be on accuracy rather than count. So if you cant manage so many, do fewer but do them right.6
Drink Enough Fluids To Keep Your Bladder Happy
Drinking less water and other fluids to decrease your risk of an accident is not a good idea, says Tomas Griebling, MD, a professor of urology at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City and president of the Geriatric Urological Society of the American Urological Association. While its true that chugging down a lot of fluids especially in a short amount of time can lead to leaks, not drinking enough can also make you need to pee suddenly.
When you dont drink enough water, the urine becomes more concentrated and that can be irritating to the bladder and increase urgency, explains Dr. Griebling.
How much fluid is enough varies from person to person, but the National Association for Continence estimates that six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day is about the right amount. Checking the color of your urine can help you know if youre on target, according to Harvard Health. In general, a pale yellow color means youre adequately hydrated, while a darker yellow suggests you need to drink more.
Donât Miss: Acupuncture Points For Urinary Incontinence
You May Like: Mono And Urinary Tract Infection
Improve Bladder Control Regain Your Continence Sooner After A Robotic Prostatectomy
Kegel exercise strengthens the group of muscles called the pelvic floor muscles These muscles contract and relax around the bladder and the bladder opening at your command. When these muscles are weak, urine leakage may result. You can exercise these muscles just like any other muscle in your body, and building them up may help reduce your symptoms. It is important that you perform these exercises correctly and consistently to gain maximum benefit after prostate cancer surgery.
Diet Light And No Sugar Added Products
Its not well known why artificial sweeteners are linked with bladder problems. If you notice your bladder irritation increases after eating foods with artificial sweeteners, its worth avoiding them to see if your symptoms improve.
Some foods that can have artificial sweeteners include light yogurts and other products, things labeled no sugar added, and diet products including diet sodas and other beverages.
Also Check: Best Supplements For Bladder Health
Don’t Miss: Urinary Tract Infection Home Test Walgreens
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.