Urinary Incontinence: Kegel Exercises for Pelvic Muscles
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Kegel exercises are one of the best natural ways to control urinary incontinence.
These simple moves can help many women and men, regardless of your age or what's causing your problem. They strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, which support your bladder. When these muscles are weak, you're more likely to have leaks.
Let’s face it: Most of us don't give much thought to our pee before we flush it out of sight. But the basic details of your urine -- color, smell, and how often you go -- can give you a hint about what’s going on inside your body.
Pee is your body’s liquid waste, mainly made of water, salt, and chemicals called urea and uric acid. Your kidneys make it when they filter toxins and other bad stuff from your blood. A bunch of things in your body, like medications, foods, and illnesses, can affect how...
Who benefits from Kegels? Anyone, at any age, who suffers urinary incontinence or leaks urine. While the exercise mainly helps those with stress urinary incontinence, it can also work if you have urge incontinence from overactive bladder. This causes a sudden urge to pee. You might not always make it to the bathroom. Men can do Kegel exercises to control urinary incontinence that can happen after prostate surgery.
How do you do them? Pretend you're trying to stop the flow of pee. Pull in and squeeze those muscles. Hold the squeeze for about 10 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds. Try for three or four sets of 10 contractions every day.
How do Kegels help? They strengthen the muscles that help control the urethra. When these muscles are weak, you can't control the flow as well.
When will I see results? It takes time to build your biceps, so it takes time to strengthen pelvic floor muscles, too. Give it 3 to 6 weeks. Do them daily.
When and where should I do them? The beauty of Kegels is that you can really do them just about anywhere, anytime. No one will know unless you tell them. Try a few sets in your car, at your desk, or while you watch TV. To be sure you have it right, ask your doctor or the nurse to describe the proper form. They can also check that you are doing them correctly.
Do I need any equipment? Not for Kegels alone. Doctors may suggest that women use a weighted cone. You'll insert it into your vagina and do your Kegels with it there. You'll slowly increase the weight. Some doctors pair Kegels with biofeedback, a monitoring system that helps you with bodily functions like urine control. Or the doctor might add electrical stimulation for muscles in the area.
Are there other benefits to Kegels? Yes. They can also help you out in the bedroom. When your pelvic floor muscles are in shape, they'll contract more strongly during an orgasm.