Exercises for bladder control at home help individuals suffering from urinary incontinence. These exercises help strengthen the pelvic muscles, thereby enhancing bladder control. Besides undergoing surgery, choosing exercises helps to get relief from bladder incontinence. Kegel exercises are the best exercises for a leaky bladder.
What Is Meant by Urinary Incontinence?
Urinary continence is the leaking of urine that one cannot control. Many people suffer in silence as they do not speak out about their symptoms. It is not only a medical problem but is associated with emotional, psychological, and social life. Individuals who suffer from urinary incontinence cannot do normal daily activities.
What Is the Physiology of Urinary Incontinence?
The brain and bladder signal each other and control the bladder while emptying the urine. First, the urine gets collected in the bladder. Then, the bladder's smooth muscle relaxes and helps hold the urine in the bladder. During this time, the neck of the bladder and the sphincter muscles are closed around the urethra (which carries urine out of the bladder). This helps prevent the urine from leakage. Next, the brain sends the signal to the bladder once it is full. Then the bladder muscles contract, and sphincters open up and force the urine through the urethra (which carries urine out of the bladder).
What Are the Exercises That Help to Control the Bladder?
- Kegel exercises help strengthen the bladder, uterus, and bowel muscles.
- They also improve bladder control and thereby prevent urine leakage.
- Kegel exercises can be done at any time.
- It can also be done by sitting or lying down.
How to Find the Right Muscles to Perform Kegel Exercises?
- One should do kegel exercises by pretending to urinate and then holding it.
- One should relax and tighten the muscles that control urine flow.
- It is important to find the right muscles to perform the kegel exercise.
- The first step is to start urinating and then should stop. Then the person should feel the muscles of the vagina, bladder, and anus muscles get tight and move up. These are the pelvic floor muscles.
- If the person can feel tightened, they have done the exercise correctly.
- At this time, the muscles of the thighs, buttocks, and abdomen should be in a relaxed state
Some Tips on Gender Basis:
- First, one should imagine trying to pass gas.
- For Women: Women should insert the finger into the vagina. Then tighten the muscles as if holding the urine. The tightened muscles that move up and down are the pelvic muscles.
- For Men: Men should insert their fingers into the rectum. Then tighten the muscles as if holding the urine. The tightened muscles that move up and down are the pelvic muscles.
How to Perform Kegel Exercises?
- Should do kegel exercises three times a day.
- One should make sure the bladder is empty before sitting or lying down.
- Then tighten the pelvic floor muscles and hold for three to five seconds.
- Repeat ten times.
- Should breathe deeply and relax the body while doing this exercise.
- Should not tighten the chest, abdominal, thigh, and buttocks muscles.
- Better results are obtained within four to six weeks.
- Should not overdo the kegel exercise, as it may result in straining while urinating.
What Are the Precautions?
- Avoid performing kegel exercises while urinating more than twice a month, as it may damage the pelvic floor muscles.
- Women doing kegel exercises incorrectly may cause the vaginal muscles to tighten too much and causes pain during sexual intercourse.
- Incontinence will revert once after stopping these exercises.
- The individual should do the kegel exercise for the rest of their life.
- It may take several months to get better results.
Pelvic Floor Ball Squeeze Exercise:
- Should sit up straight in a sturdy chair with the head lifted and the chin parallels to the ground, shoulders in line with the hips.
- Place an exercise ball between the thighs.
- Then squeeze the ball and hold for 10 seconds.
- Repeat ten times.
- For a change, sit up without leaning back against the chair. This helps strengthen the abdominal and inner thigh muscles, improving bladder control.
- Start with one leg before the other and inhale, dipping down into a lunge position.
- Then visualize holding a marble inside the vagina and contracting the pelvic floor muscles while exhaling.
- Inhale, holding those muscles tight and contract even tighter while exhaling.
- Repeat five times.
- Repeat on the opposite leg.
Pelvic Floor Activators:
- Sitting again on the sturdy chair, place a resistance band around the thighs with the feet together.
- Then press the knees apart and then bring them back together.
- Contract the inner thigh and gluteal muscles while closing the knees.
- Should do three sets of 20 with a 10-second break between sets five times a week.
Squat With a Pulse:
- With the feet shoulder-width apart and the toes turned slightly outward, lower down into a squat position.
- Then tilt the pelvis forward to engage the pelvic floor muscles at the back of the body.
- Pulse up and down an inch ten times, inhaling while in a squat position and exhaling while contracting the pelvic floor muscles.
What Are the Other Methods to Strengthen the Bladder Muscles?
- Electrical Stimulation: Electrical stimulation helps to gain control of the bladder. During electrical stimulation, a temporary wire transfers electrical impulses to the bladder. This causes the bladder muscles to contract and strengthens over time.
- Vaginal Cones: Vaginal cones act as a weight-training tool for the pelvic floor muscles. In this technique, a cone is placed inside the vagina. Then, the person has to lift the cone with the help of pelvic floor muscles and thereby strengthen these muscles. One should start with lighter cones, and then one can progress with heavier cones.
Kegel exercises and other bladder-strengthening activities help to gain control of the bladder, reduce the symptoms, and avoid potentially embarrassing accidents. In addition, this exercise may lower the risk of associated complications, such as disrupted sleep and emotional distress. However, if someone still struggles to control the bladder after trying these exercises, it is mandatory to consult the physician.