Located between the hips, your pelvic floor is an area made up of muscles and tissues, which act as a hammock to support the uterus, the bladder, the small intestine and the rectum – all of which can play a part in causing bladder leakage.
Many factors in both men and women can weaken pelvic floor muscles, including childbirth, surgery, aging and excessive straining (sneezing, coughing, constipation etc). Luckily, there are ways to regain some of that pelvic floor strength – and kegel exercises are a great way to start!
We’ll be going into more detail about these exercises in future blog posts, but for now, here’s a quick beginners guide for strengthening your pelvic floors as a way to stay on top of light bladder leakage.
- First, locate your pelvic floor muscles by trying to stop urinating mid-stream. Make sure you don’t tense the muscles in your buttocks, thighs, or abdomen, and try not to hold your breath. If you succeed in stopping or slowing down that flow – congratulations – you’ve found your pelvic floor muscles! (Note – once you have located your pelvic floor muscles, do not continue to stop urinating mid-stream, as this can lead to further health issues.)
- Contract your pelvic floor muscles for five seconds, then fully relax for a count of three. Repeat this combination ten times, and complete this set three times per day.
- At first, it might be easier if you do these exercises lying down in the comfort of your own home – but when you upgrade to a kegel-exercise-pro, you can do these contractions standing. In fact, doing these exercises while standing puts more weight on the pelvic floor muscles, which intensifies the workout and improves control. Imagine the tasks you’ll eventually be able to combine - cooking dinner + kegels. Hanging out the washing + kegels. At the pub watching the rugby + kegels. The possibilities are endless!
- Remember the three Ps – Patience + Persistence = less Pee. As with any exercise or lifestyle change, unfortunately, you aren’t going to experience instantaneous results. Commit to doing these kegel exercises regularly, and after 3-6 weeks, you should notice an incontinence-improvement. If not – see your doctor or health professional, as they may be able to help you locate the exact area you need to be focusing on.
- Bonus tip - track your daily progress in a diary to keep motivated! Swear words and irreverent statements are totally acceptable (if not encouraged!).
If mitigating the experience of LBL isn’t enough to get you started on these kegel exercises, it’s also been shown that having strong pelvic floor muscles can improve one’s sex life, and lead to more intense orgasms. So, why not commit to doing these exercises for a month, and celebrate by testing that theory out? Sounds like a win-win to us!