Urinary incontinence can make you feel out of control, but we’re here to tell you: you’re not. There are many types of physical therapy that can help treatboth stress incontinence and urge incontinence. One type, pelvic floor exercises, help strengthen your pelvic floor.
Pelvic floor exercises are easy and you can do them anytime, anywhere. Just follow this simple how-to to start strengthening your pelvic floor musclesright now!How to do Pelvic Floor 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 aregoing 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 themuscles.
If you experience better control than before, you know the pelvic floor exercises are working.Making Pelvic Floor Exercises a Routine
Here are some ideas for fitting pelvic floor exercises into your schedule. Try to work your pelvic floor exercises into existing routines to help make yourpelvic floor stronger. That way, you can use it when you need it.
- Driving.As long as your pelvic floor exercises don’t distract you from driving, flex and release on your way to the grocery store, as you leave the bank, or enroute 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 pelvic floor exercises before drifting off to sleep.
If you’ve tried and have trouble doing pelvic floor exercises, you may want to see a physical therapist who specializes in women’s pelvic health. Aphysical therapist may suggest biofeedback. Biofeedback is a training technique that may be useful if you have problems locating the correct muscles. Withbiofeedback, you're connected to electrical sensors that help you receive information (feedback) about your body (bio). This feedback helps you focus onmaking subtle changes in your body, such as flexing your pelvic muscles, more successfully.What’s Next?
After 4 to 6 weeks of working out your pelvic floor muscles regularly, you may start to notice an improvement in your urinary incontinence symptoms. Ifyou’ve made a habit of pelvic floor exercises and don’t notice an improvement in your adult incontinence symptoms, it’s time to talk to your doctor. He orshe may recommend combining pelvic floor exercises with other treatments like sensitive bladder training or other medications, devices, or procedures tohelp you manage your incontinence.