The involuntary loss of urine or feces, incontinence can result in social isolation and embarrassment. Incontinence is NOT a normal part of aging, pregnancy, nor menopause. If you are experiencing incontinence, you DO have a choice!
Following are the common pelvic floor exercises or “Kegels” that have been prescribed by physicians and physical therapists for years. However, the problem many experience is not knowing whether you are performing the exercises correctly because this is a group of muscles that you can’t “see.” Be sure to refer to the hints on identifying the correct muscles.
Another method of strengthening the pelvic floor is through the use of vaginal weights. These can be very effective, but many women have become very frustrated as the weights may continually fall out if you are extremely weak. A condition that often negates the use of vaginal weights is a cystocele or rectocele. These conditions are due to either the bladder or the rectum actually pushing into the vaginal canal, thereby pushing the weight right out. Talk to your physician if you feel pressure or a feeling of “falling out” as the day progresses. Check out www.endocare.com for more information.
Pelvic Floor Exercises
Begin these exercises now and continue them throughout your life for the continued health and strength of your pelvic floor.
To make sure you are “squeezing” the correct muscle group, try the following…
***REMEMBER…During all of these exercises, squeeze only the pelvic floor muscles, NOT the abdominals, buttocks, or inner thighs. Also, remember to BREATHE.
Controlling Urinary Urge
The sudden URGE to urinate, coupled with a weak pelvic floor muscle, often results in incontinence. You can use the pelvic floor muscles and gain control as the “bladder boss” by using the following technique:
Once you have gained control and the urge has subsided, you can walk SLOWLY AND NORMALLY to the bathroom. Use this technique to increase the time between voids to 2 to 3 hours. Don’t let your bladder be in control.
Defecation and Urgency
Remember that the longer you keep a bowel movement inside, the drier and harder it becomes. This only enhances constipation and can lead to a variety of problems. Because of this the urge to defecate should not be delayed, only controlled to the point that you are not “rushing” to get to the bathroom.
Controlling Stress Incontinence
Stress incontinence is caused by internal pressures on the bladder that cannot be counteracted by a weak pelvic floor muscle. In order to train your pelvic floor muscle to work against these pressures, try the following exercises to develop the habit of contracting your pelvic floor during these times:
Sit to Stand Exercise:
This information brought to you by…
New Horizons Physical Therapy
(406) 363-2570 Fax (406) 363-7214
120 S. Fifth Street, Suite 102
Hamilton, MT 59840