Urinary incontinence is a condition that affects about 25 million North Americans, and potentially millions more that are too embarrassed to seek treatment. There are various types of incontinence: stress incontinence, which is the leakage of urine when laughing, sneezing or coughing, to urge incontinence, which is the sudden onset of urination.
Kegel exercises are an effective treatment for incontinence.
One exercise you can do to remedy incontinence issues, are to practice Kegel, or pelvic floor, exercises. By strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, Kegel exercises can help to prevent or reduce incontinence. Kegel exercises can be done anywhere, at any time, and don’t require any special equipment. All you need to do is contract and relax the muscles of your pelvic floor.
Here’s a look at how to locate the pelvic muscles. Later, we’ll talk about how to do more advanced versions of these exercises:
Before you can do advanced Kegel exercises, you need to be able to do the basic ones. First, you will need to locate the muscles that control urination. The best way to identify these muscles is to begin urinating and then stop the urine stream. Hold this for five seconds. The muscles that clench are the ones you need to be working on developing and strengthening.
After identifying your pelvic muscles, sit on the floor, in a chair, or on your bed and work on holding them at five-second intervals. Become more familiar with which muscles you want to strengthen. Such exercises can be practiced anywhere – in the car, in your office, at home watching TV, etc. After this step, then you can move on to more advanced Kegel exercises.
Deep Flex: The deep flex is more advanced than simply working out the pelvic muscles in five second intervals. The deep flex does involve doing this, but doing it with more intensity. For instance, it involves clenching the pelvic muscles for five-second intervals, gradually trying to work your way up to 10-second intervals. This exercise will strengthen the muscles more quickly.
Men and women have different genitalia, so it only makes sense that more advanced Kegel exercises are done differently for each sex. Here’s a look at how they can be done:
Advanced Kegel Exercises to Treat Incontinence
Kegel Exercises for Men
Many people think that men are not able to do Kegel exercises, however that is not true. Kegel exercises for incontinence are a great way for men to strengthen their pelvic floor muscles. These exercises can help to improve bladder control and may even help to reduce the need for surgery.
For men, the most common position to practice a Kegel exercise is standing up straight while pulling and clenching the pelvic floor muscles upwards and then releasing. If you have any difficulty doing the exercise while standing, you can try lying on your stomach or back. When lying on your stomach, bend one knee and slide it up to your side. When lying on your back, place your feet on the ground so your knees are pointing upwards. In both positions flex and release the muscles just like you would while standing. You can also try some glute bridge exercises by slowing lifting and releasing the hips when on your back. For best results, aim for 3 sets of 10 repetitions per day. Remember to relax your muscles in between each set of Kegels.
In addition to strengthening the pelvic muscles to remedy urinary incontinence, these exercises can also, in many cases, lead to a more satisfying sex life for men.
Kegel Exercises for Women
One advanced Kegel exercise for women involves inserting a weighted cone into the vagina. Similar to the routine pelvic exercise noted above, women then contract the pelvic muscles, except it’s done in a way to prevent the cone from falling out or becoming displaced. Hold the contraction for a count of five, then relax for a count of three. Repeat this 10-15 times, two or three times a day. Women can also purchase a set of cones that vary in weight, so as their muscles get stronger they can gradually upgrade to heavier cones that will continue to work out the pelvic muscles that control urination.
If you have any difficulty doing these exercises or experience pain, stop and consult with your doctor or healthcare provider.
By regularly practicing the Kegel exercises above, you should see an improvement in your incontinence within a few weeks. Until then, don’t forget you can have all day protection with Wearever’s Incontinence Panties and Incontinence Briefs.