Exercises To Help Prevent Bladder Incontinence
Kegel exercises are one type of workout you can do anywhere, anytime. When youâre doing Kegel exercises properly, they are invisible to others. The most important thing to understand is that Kegel exercises only involve the pelvic muscles, not the stomach or chest muscles. You should feel like youâre clenching up and in, not pushing down and out like a bowel movement.
Finding Your Kegel Muscles
The first step to properly exercising your pelvic muscles is to feel them in your body.
Step 1: While sitting down or standing up, feel the sensation of urinating.
Step 2: Imagine the sensation of stopping your urine stream before your bladder is empty.
Step 3: Notice which muscles tense when you imagine this sensation. These are your pelvic muscles. The way they tensed in this exercise is the beginning of most Kegel exercises.
Note: donât actually do this when urinating. Regularly stopping your urine before your bladder is empty can damage your bladder and even result in bladder infections. If this exercise isnât helpful, you can also imagine the sensation of avoiding passing gas or squeezing a tampon if you have a vagina.
Sitting Fast-Twitch Exercise
You have two important kinds of muscle tissue, known as fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscles. You have both in every part of your body, including your pelvic muscles. Fast-twitch muscles react quickly, and can help you avoid stress incontinence such as a urine leak while laughing.
Step 3: Release almost immediately.
What Steps Can I Take At Home To Treat Urinary Incontinence
Your doctor or nurse may suggest some things you can do at home to help treat urinary incontinence. Some people do not think that such simple actions can treat urinary incontinence. But for many women, these steps make urinary incontinence go away entirely, or help leak less urine. These steps may include:
You can also buy pads or protective underwear while you take other steps to treat urinary incontinence. These are sold in many stores that also sell feminine hygiene products like tampons and pads.
Do Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises
Strong pelvic floor muscles hold in urine better than weak muscles. You can strengthen your pelvic floor muscles by doing Kegel exercises. These exercises involve tightening and relaxing the muscles that control urine flow. Researchers found that women who received pelvic floor muscle training had fewer leaks per day than women who didnt receive training.6 You should not do pelvic floor exercises while youre urinating.
Men can also benefit from pelvic floor muscle exercises. Strengthening these muscles may help a man leak urine less often, especially dribbling after urination.
A health care professional, such as a physical therapist trained in pelvic floor therapy, can help you get the most out of your Kegel exercises by helping you improve your core muscle strength. Your core includes your torso muscles, especially the lower back, pelvic floor muscles, and abdomen. These muscles keep your pelvis lined up with your spine, which helps with good posture and balance. Your physical therapist can show you how to do some exercises during daily activities, such as riding in a car or sitting at a desk.
You dont need special equipment for Kegel exercises. However, if you are unsure whether you are doing the exercises correctly, you can learn how to perform Kegel exercises properly by using biofeedback, electrical stimulation, or both. Biofeedback uses special sensors to measure muscle contractions that control urination.
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When To Seek Medical Advice
Talk to your GP if you have any type of urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence is a common problem. You shouldn’t feel embarrassed talking to them about your symptoms. This can also be the first step towards finding a way to effectively manage the problem.
Urinary incontinence can usually be diagnosed after a consultation with your GP. They will ask about your symptoms. They may carry out a pelvic examination or rectal examination .
Your GP may also suggest you keep a diary to write down how much fluid you drink and how often you have to pee.
Can Incontinence Be Prevented
Different events throughout your life can lead to many of the things that cause incontinence. The muscles that support your pelvic organs can weaken over time. For women, these muscles can also be weakened by big life events like pregnancy and childbirth. However, in the same way you work out to build strength in your legs or arms, you can do exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. Doing exercises to strengthen your pelvic muscles may not prevent you from having any issues with incontinence, but it can help you regain control of your bladder. Maintaining a healthy body weight can also help with bladder control. Talk to your healthcare provider about the best ways to maintain strong pelvic floor muscles throughout your life.
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Behavioral And Lifestyle Changes
Changing your lifestyle may help with bladder problems. Losing weight, quitting smoking, saying no to alcohol, choosing water instead of other drinks, and limiting drinks before bedtime can help with some bladder problems. Preventing constipation and avoiding lifting heavy objects may also help with incontinence. Even after treatment, some people still leak urine from time to time. There are bladder control products and other solutions, including disposable briefs or underwear, furniture pads, and urine deodorizing pills that may help.
Visit the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases for more information on urinary incontinence in men and urinary incontinence in women.
Helpful Tips For Managing Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinence is a common, often embarrassing, condition. Although not life-threatening, it can significantly affect every aspect of a person’s life from social and family relationships, work, finances, psychological health and sexual health.
Urinary incontinence is the loss of bladder control. This condition can affect both men and women and can occur at all ages, although the risk does increase with age. About 25% to 45% of adults experience incontinence at some point in their lives.
Managing involuntary leakage of urine can be frustrating and time-consuming.
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Posterior Tibial Nerve Stimulation
Your posterior tibial nerve runs down your leg to your ankle. It contains nerve fibres that start from the same place as nerves that run to your bladder and pelvic floor. It is thought that stimulating the tibial nerve will affect these other nerves and help control bladder symptoms, such as the urge to pass urine.
During the procedure, a very thin needle is inserted through the skin of your ankle and a mild electric current is sent through it, causing a tingling feeling and causing your foot to move. You may need 12 sessions of stimulation, each lasting around half an hour, one week apart.
Some studies have shown that this treatment can offer relief from OAB and urge incontinence for some people, although there is not yet enough evidence to recommend tibial nerve stimulation as a routine treatment.
Tibial nerve stimulation is only recommended in a few cases where urge incontinence has not improved with medication and you don’t want to have botulinum toxin A injections or sacral nerve stimulation.
If You Have Had Little Luck With Other Incontinence Interventions You May Need To Consider These Interventional Therapies:
- BotoxInjections of Botox into the bladder muscle may benefit you if you have an overactive bladder. Botox generally is prescribed only if medications or conservative treatments haven’t been successful.
- InterStim therapy With this therapy, a small device the size of a pacemaker is placed under the skin in your hip area. A lead wire is connected to the device and sends electrical impulses to the sacral nerves, which control bladder contraction and function.
- Percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation This therapy is designed to stimulate the nerves responsible for bladder control using the tibial nerve in your lower leg. During the procedure, a small, slim needle electrode is inserted near your tibial nerve and connected to a battery-powered stimulator. The impulses travel to the tibial nerve and then to the sacral nerve, which controls bladder control and function.
Watch this video to learn more about urinary incontinence treatments including sacral neuromodulation therapy:
Read more helpful tips and lifestyle changes that can help you manage urinary retention and incontinence.
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Symptoms Of Urinary Incontinence
Having urinary incontinence means you pass urine unintentionally.
When and how this happens varies depending on the type of urinary incontinence you have.
Although you may feel embarrassed about seeking help, it’s a good idea to see your GP if you have any type of urinary incontinence.
Urinary incontinence is a common problem and seeing your GP can be the first step towards finding a way to effectively manage the problem.
What Are The Symptoms Of Urinary Incontinence
The following are common symptoms of urinary incontinence. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
Needing to rush to the restroom and/or losing urine if you do not get to the restroom in time
Urine leakage with movements or exercise
Leakage of urine that prevents activities
Urine leakage with coughing, sneezing or laughing
Leakage of urine that began or continued after surgery
Leakage of urine that causes embarrassment
Constant feeling of wetness without sensation of urine leakage
Feeling of incomplete bladder emptying
The symptoms of urinary incontinence may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.
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How Does The Urinary System Work
The urinary system consists of the kidneys, ureters, the bladder and urethra. The kidneys filter the blood to remove waste products and produce urine. The urine flows from the kidneys down through the ureters to the bladder. A ring of muscle squeezes shut to keep urine in the bladder and relaxes when we need to wee. The urine passes through another tube called the urethra to the outside when urinating .
How To Do Pelvic Floor Exercises
First, you need to locate your pelvic floor muscles, which you can do by trying to stop your flow of urine mid-stream. Exercises should be performed at first by sitting on a chair with your feet flat on the floor, and your elbows rested on your knees.
Two types of exercises, called slow contraction and fast contraction, should be performed to give your pelvic floor a full workout. Always do the slow contraction exercises first and then the fast contraction exercises.
To practice slow contraction exercises:
- Draw up your muscles surrounding your anus as if you are trying to stop yourself passing gas. However, do not squeeze your buttock muscles.
- Also, draw up the muscles around your urethra as if you are trying to stop urine flow.
- Hold this position for as long as you can. You may only be able to hold this contraction for a couple of seconds at first, but the goal is to hold for a count of 10 seconds.
- Slowly relax and let go for 10 seconds.
- Gradually increase the time you hold the contraction and repeat until your muscles begin to feel tired.
To practice fast contraction exercises:
- Draw up the muscles surrounding your anus and urethra as before.
- Hold the contraction for 1 second and then let go and relax.
- Repeat the contractions up to 10 times or until your muscles tire.
Try to come up with an exercise plan that includes 10 slow contractions and three sets of 10 fast contractions twice per day.
The following tips may help you to increase your success with bladder training:
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When To See A Health Care Provider And What To Expect
Talk to your health care provider if you have urinary incontinence or any signs of a bladder problem, such as:
- Needing to urinate more frequently or suddenly
- Cloudy urine
- Urinating eight or more times in one day
- Passing only small amounts of urine after strong urges to urinate
- Trouble starting or having a weak stream while urinating
Your doctor may recommend urodynamic testing and perform the following to try to figure out what might be causing your bladder problem:
- Give you a physical exam and take your medical history.
- Ask about your symptoms and the medications you take.
- Take urine and blood samples.
- Examine the inside of your bladder using a cystoscope a long, thin tube that slides up into the bladder through the urethra. This is usually done by a urinary specialist.
- Fill the bladder with warm fluid and use a cystoscope to check how much fluid your bladder can hold before leaking.
- Order or perform a bladder ultrasound to see if you are fully emptying your bladder with each void.
- Ask you to keep a daily diary of when you urinate and when you leak urine. Your primary care doctor may also send you to a urologist, a doctor who specializes in urinary tract problems.
Ten Simple Things That Can Help Your Incontinence Usually A Good Starting Point
1. Weight loss is one of the most basic things you can try if you are overweight, especially for stress incontinence. Excess belly fat can put pressure on your urinary bladder and make the leakage worse. Weight loss from diet and exercise can help with other medical conditions like hypertension and diabetes. See Fast Weight Loss Exercises 5 Easy Ways To Lose Fat Quickly!
2. Avoid lifting heavy objects, which can put pressure on your bladder and worsen stress incontinence. Lifting heavy weights routinely over the years can also loosen structures in the pelvis that help support the bladder and keep it in place.
3. Watch your fluid intake, especially close to bedtime. Urine accumulates in your bladder as you sleep, which may wake you several times throughout the night, especially if you have urge or overflow incontinence. This is especially common in men with an enlarged prostate . Diabetes that is not well controlled can cause you to drink and urinate more.
4. Avoid drinks and foods that can irritate your bladder like alcohol, carbonated drinks, caffeine, chocolate, artificial sweeteners, acidic foods, and spicy foods like chili peppers.
5. Constipation can worsen urinary incontinence by stimulating bladder nerves that increase urinary frequency as the stool passes into the rectum. Eating regularly and Increasing the fiber in your diet may help. You may need to take a stool softener regularly in more severe cases of constipation.
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Forms Of Urinary Incontinence That Affect Men Only
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia affects about 50 percent of men over the age of 60, and 90 percent over the age of 85 an enlarged prostate can cause sudden and frequent urges to urinate.
- Peyronies disease is the result of injury or damage to penile tissue, causing an abnormal curvature.
- Painful inflammation of the prostate gland
Conservative Ways To Treat Urinary Incontinence Include:
- Dietary changes Try to eliminate or cut back on how much caffeine you consume, such as in coffee and tea. In addition, limit the amount of carbonated drinks and acidic foods, such as oranges and pineapples, in your diet. Caffeine prompts your body to get rid of fluids, which causes you to need to urinate. Also, the acids in carbonated drinks and some foods can irritate your bladder and cause you to go more often.
- Manage constipation For some people, urinary incontinence is a symptom of constipation. Your rectum is located near your bladder and shares many of the same nerves. Hard, compacted stool in your rectum can cause these nerves to be overactive and increase urinary frequency.
- Physical therapy A therapist can explain different exercises to do to strengthen the muscles that help control urination. Also known as Kegels, these exercises are especially effective for stress incontinence but also may help urge incontinence.
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Mental Decline And Incontinence
Dementia is a brain disorder which affects communication and performance of daily activities. Alzheimers Disease is the most frequent cause of dementia, causing 50-70% of cases according to the Centre for Disease Control. Other common causes include Huntingtons, Parkinsons, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.
These conditions cause changes in the structure of the brain as neurons die. As they progress, difficulties with urination occur. Incontinence can be caused by frequent UTIs from an individuals inability to clean themselves properly, constipation from a poor diet or dehydration, or as a side-effect of medication.
Alternatively, urinary incontinence may occur because of neurological decline caused by dementia. Mobility can decrease as the disease progresses, making it difficult for a sufferer to reach the toilet on time. Reduced sensation can also prevent the sufferer from knowing when they need to urinate. Mental decline can lead to the individual not knowing where the toilet is, or how to use it when they get there.
Tips For Caregivers: Management
Medications are available to calm an overactive bladder, if overactive bladder is the cause of the incontinence. But some have side effects that can make dementia worse. Talk with the doctor about options that apply to the person youre caring for. In some cases, where incontinence is caused by an underlying medical condition, treating the condition may help.
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Nonsurgical Treatment Options For Ui
Fortunately, there are several nonsurgical treatments for urinary incontinence. From training your bladder and pelvic floor exercises to using a urethral support device, there are different options you can try to manage your symptoms. We recommend discussing your options with a doctor before deciding on the best course of action.
In some cases, your doctor might recommend lifestyle changes to help manage and prevent the symptoms of urinary incontinence. These range from adjustments to your diet, to exercise habits to management techniques between bathroom breaks. Common nonsurgical treatments for urinary incontinence are: