Kegel Exercising for Urinary Incontinence in Women

Apr 01, 2009
Urinary incontinence is one of the most common problems that can have a serious impact on woman's life. Urinary incontinence is more often reported among women than men. Many women, who face the problem, are too embarrassed to ask for help and feel isolated out of fear that others might know about this delicate issue.
Urinary incontinence is described as unintended urine leakage due to various reasons. There are several types of urinary incontinence: stress incontinence and urge incontinence. Stress incontinence is usually triggered by coughing, laughing, sneezing, jogging or lifting heavy things. If you have an urge incontinence you might often feel the unexpected and intense need to urinate, but fail to reach the bathroom.

What are Pelvic Floor Muscles?

Weakened pelvic floor muscles play a great role in urinary incontinence. Pelvic floor muscles are found surrounding the bladder, the rectum and the vagina. These muscles work by supporting these openings, providing the efficient functioning and control over urination. When pelvic floor muscles become weak or overstretched, it may result in urinary incontinence and other problems.

What causes urinary incontinence?

Urinary incontinence due to weakened pelvic floor muscles often results from a number of conditions such as:
  • Weight gain during pregnancy
  • Childbirth especially multiple childbirths
  • Obesity
  • Frequent constipation
  • Injury
  • Surgery that involves pelvic floor muscles
  • Menopause
There are many ways to manage urinary incontinence on your own. One of the most effective methods to stop uncontrolled urination is to strengthen pelvic floor muscles with a help of Kegel exercises.

Kegel exercises

Find your pelvic floor muscles. First thing you need to do before starting exercising is to get familiar with your pelvic floor. You may need some time to identify your pelvic floor muscles especially if they lost their strength. To detect your pelvic floor muscles for urinary incontinence treatment you will need to try to stop the flow of the urine.

You can perform this exercise in any situation and in any position: lying, standing, sitting, walking and etc. Keep in mind that your abdominal muscles do not work. It is also not necessary to hold on your breath as only your pelvic floor should work.

  • Squeeze your pelvic floor muscles for around 10 seconds and then slowly release. Relax for 5 seconds and then squeeze the muscles again. Repeat 10 times.
  • Clench your pelvic floor muscles quickly 10 times and then relax. Repeat these sessions 3-4 times a day.
  • After you got used to regular Kegel exercises, you may add some extra details to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. You may try to squeeze your pelvic floor muscles while coughing or clearing your throat.
  • To increase the effectiveness of Kegel exercises, you can use a special device to squeeze your muscles against resistance. For example, you can use vaginal cones/weighs or vaginal balls to do Kegel exercises. Insert vaginal cone or ball into the vagina and try to hold it in place for 20 seconds, gradually increasing the time.
  • It may take from 1 to 3 months of regular exercising before you can see the positive results in urinary incontinence treatment.