We all tend to know how important it is to be doing our pelvic or Kegel's exercises whether we are young, middle aged or older as well as before and after childbirth - but how many of us actually make the effort?
Your pelvic floor muscles are located deep inside your core. They run from your vagina to your anus and they support your urethra, which is the tube that empties urine - and your bladder.
When your floor muscles are weak, your bladder also become weak.
Urinary incontinence is very common in women but men can suffer too.
How to do pelvic floor exercises
To strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, sit comfortably and squeeze the muscles ten to fifteen times in a row. Don't hold your breath or tighten your stomach, buttock or thigh muscles at the same time. When you get used to doing pelvic floor exercises, you can try holding each squeeze for a few seconds.
There are many different types of pelvic floor exercises.
There are two types of weakened bladder problems
- Stress incontinence is one and the most common. It is caused by a weakened pelvic floor when the incontinence occurs when coughing, laughing, sneezing, exercising or lifting objects.
- The second is known as urge incontinence. That can happen when you have the urge to use the bathroom but you just cannot get there fast enough. The same weakened pelvic floor muscles are the cause again.
We have written about other types of waterworks problems in women in an earlier post.
Natural ways to deal with urinary incontinence
There are some new shorts
that look a lot like cycle shorts except they function as a pelvic floor toner and treatment for bladder leakage, weak bladder or incontinence and apparently have had good results. Research, presented at the 2018 Urogynaecological Association’s Annual General Meeting
, found 93% of users experiences a significant reduction in urinary leaks in just four weeks, after wearing the shorts for five thirty minute sessions a week.
Because many people find pelvic floor exercises to be complicated, the "shorts" stimulate and contract the pelvic floor for you. In fact, many women cannot feel anything in their pelvic floor especially after childbirth. The shorts provide the perfect solution, generating a strengthening and training effect with regular use.
But there are other tips to follow too
It is well worth a little time and effort to resolve the problems of incontinence, enabling you to live a better quality of life.
Smoking puts yourself at risk of incontinence because coughing puts strain on your pelvic floor muscles.
Doing the right exercises as high-impact exercise puts pressure on your pelvic floor muscles and can increase leakage. Sit-ups can also cause problems by straining your pelvic floor muscles.
Pilates is another way to strengthen your pelvic floor. To relieve symptoms, replace jogging and aerobics classes with pilates, using this gentle method of stretching and strengthening core muscles.
Avoiding lifting whenever you can as lifting puts strain on your pelvic floor muscles. If you do have to lift something, tighten your pelvic floor muscles before and during the lift.
Losing weight is another tip as being overweight can weaken your pelvic floor muscles and can cause incontinence because of the pressure of fatty tissue on the bladder. Losing excess weight can help symptoms to improve and even clear up completely.
Treating constipation promptly because straining to have a bowel movement weakens your pelvic floor muscles. It can be beneficial to change your diet and lifestyle to avoid constipation in the first place.
Cutting down on caffeine which can irritate the bladder and make incontinence worse. As well as coffee, other beverages include caffeine - sodas, tea, green tea and energy drinks. Cut out or cut down and replace with water and herbal or fruit teas.
Cutting down on alcohol to improve incontinence because alcohol is a diuretic, making you urinate more often. Drinking less or little alcohol may help those incontinence symptoms.
Drinking plenty of water, ideally six to eight glasses per day. Many people with urinary incontinence avoid drinking fluids, as they feel it causes more problems. However, limiting your fluid intake makes incontinence worse, because it reduces your bladder's capacity. Too little fluid can also cause or worsen constipation.
Eating the right foods while avoiding spicy and acidic foods, such as curries and citrus fruits, as they can irritate the bladder, making leaks and other incontinence symptoms worse.