Exercises To Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor
The pelvic floor muscles support the urinary tract organs such as the bladder, uterus, small intestine, and bowel and assist with correcting your flow of urine, urinary control, continence, and sexual function.
To get all of the potential benefits, you should incorporate pelvic floor muscle exercises into your regular workout routine.
Pelvic Floor Muscle Training Can Improve Symptoms Of Urinary Incontinence
This is a plain English summary of an original research article
Two-thirds of women with any type of urinary incontinence who have pelvic floor muscle training see improvement or cure compared with only a third of women who receive no treatment or inactive treatments. It is even more effective for women with stress incontinence, with three-quarters of women reporting improvement or resolution of symptoms, such as episodes of leakage.
This systematic review included 31 trials and 1,817 women with any type of incontinence stress, urgency or mixed urinary incontinence.
Findings support current guidelines to offer pelvic floor exercises as first-line conservative management in women with urinary incontinence. Long-term effectiveness and cost-effectiveness require further evaluation.
When To See A Professional
For a lot of people, adding pelvic floor exercises to their daily routine is a simple way to strengthen these muscles and maintain overall pelvic health.
But for many others, seeking help from a doctor or a physical therapist trained in pelvic floor issues is a necessary intervention. This is especially true if youre having bowel or bladder control problems.
Here are some signs to watch for that may indicate its time to see a professional (
- problems with having a bowel movement
- pressure or discomfort in the pelvis
- seeing or feeling a bulge protruding out of the vagina or anus
- pain while urinating
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Pelvic Floor Muscle Training In Men
Two reviews were done of men using pelvic floor muscle training to improve continence after prostate surgery. Results were not the same, but there does seem to be a benefit in men who do pelvic floor muscle exercises. One review showed that pelvic floor muscle training did help men control leakage of urine after a radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer.footnote 1 But the other review showed no benefit overall in men trying pelvic floor muscle training after any prostate surgery.footnote 2
Another study showed that men who did pelvic floor muscle exercises after prostate surgery had much improved urine leakage compared to men who did not do the exercises.footnote 3
Definition Prevalence And Aetiology Of Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinence, as defined by The International Continence Society, is the complaint of any involuntary leakage of urine . It can result from a variety of different conditions and it is useful to classify them accordingly. The most common types of urinary incontinence in women are stress and urge incontinence.
Urinary stress incontinence is the complaint of involuntary leakage of urine on effort or exertion, such as sneezing or coughing . When urodynamic studies demonstrate the
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How Do You Do Pelvic Floor Exercises Correctly
- Sit in a chair with your knees slightly apart. Imagine you are trying to stop wind escaping from your back passage . You will have to squeeze the muscle just above the entrance to the anus. You should feel some movement in the muscle. Don’t move your buttocks or legs.
- Now imagine you are passing urine and are trying to stop the stream. You will find yourself using slightly different parts of the pelvic floor muscles to the first exercise . These are the ones to strengthen.
- If you are not sure that you are exercising the right muscles, put a couple of fingers into your vagina. You should feel a gentle squeeze when doing the exercise. Another way to check that you are doing the exercises correctly is to use a mirror. The area between your vagina and your anus will move away from the mirror when you squeeze.
- The first few times you try these exercises, you may find it easier to do them lying down.
When To Do Kegel Exercises
Most people prefer doing Kegel exercises while lying down on a bed or sitting in a chair. You can do them in any position you feel comfortable in. Doing Kegel exercises while standing can be very helpful because thats usually when urinary leakage happens.
To keep your urine from leaking, try to do a Kegel exercise before these activities:
- When standing up.
Supta Baddha Konasana Or Reclining Bound Angle Pose
This yoga pose focuses on your groin and pelvic region and works your inner thighs as well as hips, giving it a complete stretch. With stronger inner thighs, you can stabilize your pelvic floor better. Because you boost flexibility, you can sense and use your pelvic floor muscles much more deeply than before.13 Follow these steps to perform this asana14:
- Lie down on your back, knees bent, and feet together.
- Breathe in relaxing the pelvic floor. Feel your hip and abdominal muscle relax. Allow your knees to drop open at the sides of your body.
- Breathe out as you bring your knees back to the start position, pulling your abdominal muscle in and lifting your pelvic floor. Accentuate that contraction of your muscles at the tail end of your exhalation.
Urinary Incontinence Hampers Normal Life May Cause Depression
Urinary incontinence can be brought on due to physical changes like menopause or childbirth in women. And while women make up the majority of those with incontinence in the United States, men too may develop the problem.1 An enlarged prostate, neurological problems, chronic coughing, obesity, and old age are some of the possible causes of incontinence in men.2
This problem can affect your self-esteem as well as your ability to function normally at home or in the workplace. It can also hamper your activity levels and mobility in general and take its toll on your sexual activity. It isnt surprising that it is also a trigger for depression in many people. Thankfully, some simple, nonsurgical ways can improve your condition and gain control over this otherwise potentially debilitating problem.3 What follows are some exercises you can do anytime, anywhere to help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and regain proper control.
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Power Up Your Pelvic Floor Strengthening
try a trainer device. These can help you get the most from your pelvic floor exercises. They monitor how well youre working your pelvic floor muscles, giving you feedback on whether youre using the right muscles and how hard youre squeezing. You place the device in your vagina and squeeze your pelvic floor muscles. Find out more about
get squatting. Strong glutes and hamstrings are very important to the overall health of your pelvic floor, and a deep squat is one of the best exercises for strengthening these muscles. Make sure you drop low enough, dont lean your body too far forward or allow your knees to drift inward , and always do squats slowly. Aim to complete about 2-3 sets of 10 reps daily
Pelvic Floor Exercise Tips
If you are not used to doing pelvic floor exercises then perhaps do the exercises as often as described above for the first three months or so. This will strengthen up the pelvic floor muscles. Thereafter, a five-minute spell of pelvic floor exercises once or twice a day should keep the muscles strong and toned up which may help to prevent incontinence from developing in later life.
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What Did It Find
- Cure was eight times more likely to be reported by women with stress incontinence who were in the intervention group .
- Cure was five times more likely to be reported by women with any type of urinary continence in the intervention groups .
- Improvement or cure was reported six times more frequently in women with stress urinary incontinence who were in the intervention groups .
- Improvement or cure was twice as likely to be reported by women with any type of urinary incontinence in the intervention groups .
- Women with stress urinary incontinence in the pelvic floor muscle training groups had one fewer leakage episodes over 24 hours and in women with all types of urinary incontinence .
How Do I Perform Kegel Exercises
You perform Kegel exercises by lifting and holding and then relaxing your pelvic floor muscles. Start by doing a small number of exercises over a short period of time, then gradually increase both the length of time and the number of exercises you are doing in each session . You should perform at least two sets of the exercises a day.
Start by lifting and holding for three seconds then relaxing for three seconds. Repeat this 10 times in a row this would be one set. Do this set of exercises at least twice a day. As you improve, increase all of these numbers. In other words, increase the length of time you are lifting, holding and relaxing the number of exercises making up a set and the number times per day you are doing these exercises. For example, instead of holding for three seconds and relaxing for three seconds, hold and relax for four seconds each, then up to five seconds each. Increase the number of exercises in a set to 10 in a row . Finally, increase the number of times you do these exercises from twice a day to three times a day.
Biofeedback and other techniques
If you have trouble doing Kegel exercises, two techniques can help biofeedback training and electric stimulation of your pelvic floor muscles. Biofeedback is done to help determine if the correct muscles are being squeezed electrical stimulation recreates the sensation of what a properly done Kegel exercise should feel like.
Kegel exercise tips
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How Often Should I Exercise
Do your exercises often enough to make them a habit but at a minimum of 30 repetitions twice a day. Pelvic floor muscle support usually improves within 6 weeks after starting the exercises. Strengthening your pelvic floor is one step you can take to control your bladder. While incontinence and frequent sudden urges to go may be embarrassing to talk about, your health care provider can offer other treatment options that may provide further relief.
Can Kegels Improve Sex
Kegels improve blood circulation to the pelvic floor and vagina, and this may be helpful for arousal and lubrication. A lot of women, after childbirth, feel like their vagina is not as tight as it was before and they want to have surgery for that. But strengthening the pelvic floor muscles with kegel exercises can make it a little bit more taut. It might be tighter because women are better able to contract their muscles, and that might improve sensation. Even if its psychological, it can help women feel better about their pelvic floor, so theres a positive benefit.
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Pelvic Floor Exercises For Incontinence
Urinary incontinence can happen to anyone, but Holland reinforces that exercising these muscles regularly can promote greater bladder control while elevating comfort and confidence. Ensuring that our muscles are coordinated and strong enough to do what we are asking of them sets us up for the most success in regards to maintaining continence.
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How To Get The Best Results
be consistent. Ideally, do pelvic floor exercises three times a day for three months and you should start to notice the difference. If you dont always manage three times, do them as often as you can, even if its just once a day, and you should still get benefits over the long term
keep going. Once your pelvic floor is stronger, carry on with the exercises to maintain the benefits
make it easier to reap the rewards. Get into a habit with the exercises by linking them to something you already do. For example, do them while youre brushing your teeth or fit them in at the end of your YouTube yoga session. Do them watching TV, sitting on the bus or train to work, or having a bath . To help you form a habit, think about setting a reminder on your phone, or sticking a note in your handbag, on the fridge or to your laptop screen
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Pelvic Floor Exercise In Pregnancy And Postpartum
There is strong evidence to suggest that women, who do intensive supervised pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy, reduce their chances of leakage postpartum in the first year after childbirth. For women having their first baby, antenatal pelvic floor exercise appears to reduce the prevalence of urinary incontinence in late pregnancy and early postpartum . Fifteen studies involving 6181 women contributed to the analysis. Based
How Do I Find My Pelvic Floor Muscles
Your pelvic floor muscles are a group of muscles that form a small sling or hammock that runs between your pubic bone in the front of your body to your tailbone at the back.
Finding your pelvic floor muscles is pretty simple. Try stopping the flow of your urine when you are sitting on the toilet. Only do this until you learn how it feels . You can also insert a finger into your vagina and squeeze the muscles in your vagina around it. You should feel pressure around your finger. The muscles you feel lifting inside of you when you are trying these activities are the same ones you strengthen during Kegel exercises.
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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.
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Pelvic Floor Muscle Training In Women
Women who do Kegel exercises are more likely to improve, and even cure, their incontinence. These women had fewer leakage problems a day and said their quality of life was better.footnote 4 Women who do these exercises during and after pregnancy can reduce their chance of urine leakage after delivery.footnote 4
Women who did these exercises for urinary incontinence got better. The exercises seem to work better in women who have stress urinary incontinence and who keep doing the exercises.footnote 5
When Estrogen Levels Drop During Menopause
The ligaments of your pelvic floor might become thinner, weaker & less resilient…
Which is why during menopause, many women have increased incidences of urinary incontinence happening, due to their pelvic floor weakening.
So, if youre looking for a way to replenish your estrogen which is important for keeping the ligaments of your pelvic floor strong and elastic, weve got just the thing thatll help:
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Hip Bridge With Pilates Ball
A variation of the glute bridge, this exercise uses the aid of the pilates ball as in the previous exercise.10
- Lie on your back with a ball held between the knees as before.
- Gently squeeze the ball and feel your pelvic floor muscles contract as you do this.Now move your arms above your head, palm side up.
- Exhale as you raise your hips off the ground to create the bridge position. At the same time, move your arms up to the ceiling and bring them to rest on either side of your body, on the mat.
- Breathe in, bringing your torso back down followed by your hips. As you do this, lift your arms up and reach overhead with them.
Utkatasana Or Chair Pose
The utkatasana can be adapted to help build an awareness of the pelvic region and the muscles that control urine flow.15
- Begin in tadasana or mountain pose, standing with your feet together.
- Align your head, pelvis, and torso so that the centers of your head and pelvis line up.
- Inhale raising your arms up, palms facing each other until they are overhead.
- Exhale, keep your arms extended as your interlink your fingers and invert them to face the ceiling. Stretch your arms a little more. Continue to breathe. Extend a little more with each exhalation.
- As you exhale, bend your legs deeply, with your inner thighs, knees, and feet still firmly glued to each other and heels flat on the ground.
- Let your lower spine open and rotate your pelvis back. Stop moving the pelvis as soon as you feel a contraction in your pelvic floor muscles.
- Now focus on the lower abdominal muscles that are just above your pubic bone and gently draw them in.
- Next, contract your pelvic floor muscles as you do in a Kegel, to stop the imaginary urine flow.
- Hold for multiple breaths and then release. Return to the original position.
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