Solutions For A Leaky Bladder
Research has found that at least half of people with urinary incontinence dont discuss the condition with a health care provider. But theres no need to feel embarrassed. If you have a leaky bladder, youre definitely not alone. Bladder leakage, or urinary incontinence, affects women and men of all ages, though it becomes more common later in life.
And its definitely worth discussing, because of the many ways it can interfere with enjoying daily lifefrom exercise and travel to social outings and romance, says E. James Wright, M.D., director of urology at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.
How To Find The Right Muscles
A Kegel exercise is like pretending you have to urinate and then holding it. You relax and tighten the muscles that control urine flow. It is important to find the right muscles to tighten.
If you still are not sure you are tightening the right muscles:
- Imagine that you are trying to keep yourself from passing gas.
- Men: Insert a finger into your rectum. Tighten the muscles as if you are holding in your urine, then let go. You should feel the muscles tighten and move up and down.
What Happens Before You Can Do Kegel Exercises
To do Kegel exercises, you have to find the muscles that you need to exercise. There are three muscles you need to find and flex to complete a correct Kegel exercise.
The BC muscle is the main one involved in doing Kegel exercises, with the other two muscles doing less of the work. You can find this muscle by stopping your urine stream while youre peeing.
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The Squeeze & Release
The squeeze and release is your secret weapon towards getting your pelvic muscles to respond quickly. This can be very helpful for stopping leaks in pinch!To squeeze and release:
- Sit or stand in a comfortable position and think of the muscles used to control your urine flow.
- Squeeze your pelvic muscles as quickly as possible and rapidly release them with no attempt to hold the position.
- Take a rest for 5 to 10 seconds.
- Repeat contracting your pelvic muscles for 10 to 20 reps.
- Perform this exercise 3 times throughout the day.
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Common Bladder Problems And When To Seek Help
Bladder problems can disrupt day-to-day life. When people have bladder problems, they may avoid social settings and have a harder time getting tasks done at home or at work. Common bladder problems include urinary tract infections, urinary incontinence, and urinary retention.
Some signs of a bladder problem may include:
- Inability to hold urine or leaking urine
- Needing to urinate more frequently or urgently
- Pain or burning before, during, or after urinating
- Trouble starting or having a weak stream while urinating
- Trouble emptying the bladder
If you experience any of these symptoms, talk to your health care provider.
Treatment for bladder problems may include behavioral and lifestyle changes, exercises, medications, surgery, or a combination of these treatments and others. For more information on treatment and management of urinary incontinence, visit Urinary Incontinence in Older Adults.
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What Are Kegel Exercises
Kegel exercises are ones designed to tighten up your pelvic floor muscles. These muscles help you control your bladder and bowels. It also helps you with your erections.
The pelvic floor muscles, along with other tissues, stretch from your tailbone in the back to your pubic bone in the front. The muscles support your bladder and your bowel. The urethra, which takes urine out of your body, and your rectum, which allows feces to move out of your body, pass through the muscles and tissues of the pelvic floor.
Pain And Kegel Exercises
Kegel exercises shouldnt hurt. Most people find them relaxing and easy. But if you use the wrong muscles during Kegel exercises, you may feel uncomfortable.
- If you get back or stomach pain after doing the exercises, you may be trying too hard and using your stomach or back muscles instead of your pelvic floor muscles.
- If you get a headache after doing the exercises, you may be making your chest muscles tight and holding your breath.
If you have any questions, call your nurse. You may also want to talk to your healthcare team about pelvic floor physical therapy. Pelvic floor physical therapy can help you with issues you might be having in your bladder, bowels or pelvic area.
Take control of your bladder
Do you find yourself struggling to make it to the bathroom in time? Urinary incontinence is a common condition. Your doctor can help you understand whats causing it and recommend a treatment plan.
Lifestyle changes can also help get your bladder under control. Learn about six steps you can take to reduce your risk of accidents and help you get back to enjoying everyday activities, leak-free.
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Notice The Difference Within 3 To 6 Months
As we all know, results dont happen overnight. You may start to notice the difference after consistently doing these exercises for 3 to 6 months. You may then regain control of your bladder, have fewer accidents, and able to do more repetitions. They may also help minimise your risk of associated complications, such as emotional distress and sleep deprivation.
Supta Baddha Konasana Or Reclining Bound Angle Pose
This yoga pose focuses on your groin and pelvic region and works your inner thighs as well as hips, giving it a complete stretch. With stronger inner thighs, you can stabilize your pelvic floor better. Because you boost flexibility, you can sense and use your pelvic floor muscles much more deeply than before.13 Follow these steps to perform this asana14:
- Lie down on your back, knees bent, and feet together.
- Breathe in relaxing the pelvic floor. Feel your hip and abdominal muscle relax. Allow your knees to drop open at the sides of your body.
- Breathe out as you bring your knees back to the start position, pulling your abdominal muscle in and lifting your pelvic floor. Accentuate that contraction of your muscles at the tail end of your exhalation.
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Mistake : Going Too Often
One more trip to the bathroom before rushing out the door may seem like smart planning, but it can backfire. The danger is that you can end up training the bladder to respond to small volumes, which can lead to overactive bladder symptomsthe sensation of needing to urinate more frequently than is normal, explains Dr. Rickey.
Going too often at night can also be a problem for men who then cant fall back to sleep, says Stanton Honig, MD, director of Male Urology, adding that this condition, called nocturia, can affect quality of life. If this is bothersome to patients, there are treatment for it, says Dr. Honig.
Other problems can also cause increased urinary frequency, such as an infection along the urinary tract. Therefore, if you find that you need to visit the bathroom far more often than you used to, talk to your primary care physician or urologist. You may need a urinalysis to rule out a UTI, as well as to check for blood in the urine , which can happen to a small number of people with an overactive bladder who have a bladder tumor, Dr. Brito says. Blood in the urine is never normal and usually requires further testing to determine its cause, Dr. Brito says.
How To Strengthen Your Bladder And Urinate Less Often
This article was medically reviewed by Allison Romero, PT, DPT. Dr. Allison Romero is a Pelvic Health Specialist, Physical Therapist, and the Owner of Reclaim Pelvic Therapy in the San Francisco Bay Area. With over a decade of experience, Allison specializes in comprehensive pelvic physical therapy treatments for pelvic floor dysfunction. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology and Exercise Science from Sonoma State University and a Doctor of Physical Therapy from the University of Southern California. Allison is a board certified Physical Therapist in California and is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association-Section on Womens Health and the International Pelvic Pain Society.There are 19 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 100% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 975,165 times.
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Isolating Your Bladder Muscles
Before you can perform bladder control exercises, its important to understand where your pelvic floor muscles are on your body and how to isolate them.
To isolate your pelvic floor muscles, here are some tips. Find somewhere comfortable to lay down on your back or sit in a relaxed position. Imagine that you are emptying your bladder. You should feel your pelvic floor muscles relax. Now imagine that you have to suddenly stop urine flow. You should be able to feel your pelvic floor muscles tighten as if you are actually holding back urine.
If youre still unsure about which muscles are part of your pelvic floor and which are not, here are some guidelines:
- When you tighten your pelvic floor muscles, you shouldnt feel tightening in your legs. If your thighs or buttocks tighten as you are trying to isolate your pelvic floor, this is unassociated with your bladder muscles.
- Your stomach muscles are also unassociated with your pelvic floor muscles.
- While contracting the pelvic floor, you should be able to breathe easily. If you stop breathing, hold your breath, or are gasping for air, chances are youre contracting the wrong muscles.
Exercises For Men With Prostate Problems Or An Overactive Bladder
Symptoms of prostate problems and overactive bladder
Prostate problems and overactive bladder are very different conditions. But for men, both can cause frequent and sudden urges to urinate.
While this can be annoying and embarrassing, it can be treated.
In addition to medical remedies, a variety of exercises can help reduce the number of times you feel the sudden urge to go to the bathroom.
The prostate is about the size of a walnut. It surrounds the urethra, which carries urine from the bladder.
As men age, their prostates often enlarge. This puts pressure on their urethras.
An enlarged prostate is also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia . The condition can contribute to an urge to urinate frequently, or the feeling that you may still have to go after youve finished urinating.
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What If The Incontinence Does Not Improve Or Is Bothersome
If you have a bothersome amount of incontinence or if it does not improve with the above measures, many men will benefit from seeing an incontinence practitioner. There is a wide range of treatments available.
Once you decide to see an incontinence practitioner, be prepared to answer questions regarding the type of symptoms you are having, the number and type of pads you might be using, and previous treatments you have had for prostate cancer and for incontinence. You should be honest about how much the incontinence bothers you, and how willing you are to have additional treatments, potentially including surgical procedures.
During your first visit, the incontinence specialist will take your history and perform an exam. You will likely be asked to give a urine sample to rule out infection or blood in the urine. A Ã¢bladder scanÃ¢ is often done in the office to see if you are completely emptying your bladder when you urinate.
The incontinence specialist will likely discuss more conservative treatments at first. A more rigorous pelvic floor exercise program might be recommended. You may also be given a biofeedback machine that allows you to see how strong your pelvic floor muscles are. The specialist may also discuss various medication therapies.
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Try To Prevent Constipation
Constipation causes the colon to swell and strain because of increased abdominal muscle pressure. This can adversely affect the bladder muscles and may also increase the frequency and severity of OAB symptoms.
Eating more fiber, getting regular exercise, and staying hydrated can help prevent constipation. In addition, there are certain yoga poses including the Crescent Lunge, Cobra, and Legs up the Wall that can help relieve constipation and promote healthy bowel movements.
Those who experience chronic constipation should talk with a doctor to learn more about other ways to help manage their constipation more effectively, such as by taking medications or trying physical therapy.
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Avoid Lifting Heavy Objects
Lifting heavy objects puts strain not only on the back and knees but also on the pelvic floor muscles. Without proper support from pelvic muscles, stress incontinence and OAB with or without urge incontinence can occur.
For this reason, people should avoid lifting heavy objects if they can. If they do need to lift something, they should practice their pelvic floor exercises before and during the lift to help support the muscles in and around their bladder.
Exercises For Urinary Sphincter Muscles
The urinary sphincter muscles are located at the base of the pelvic floor. They help control urine flow as well as prevent leaking of urine from the bladder. Sphincter muscles are circular and surround the opening of the urethra where it connects to the bladder. The urethra is a tubular structure that extends from the bladder to the outside of the body, through which urine flows. As we grow older, our sphincter muscles may weaken. Exercise strengthens this muscle and helps prevent incontinence.
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Utkatasana Or Chair Pose
The utkatasana can be adapted to help build an awareness of the pelvic region and the muscles that control urine flow.15
- Begin in tadasana or mountain pose, standing with your feet together.
- Align your head, pelvis, and torso so that the centers of your head and pelvis line up.
- Inhale raising your arms up, palms facing each other until they are overhead.
- Exhale, keep your arms extended as your interlink your fingers and invert them to face the ceiling. Stretch your arms a little more. Continue to breathe. Extend a little more with each exhalation.
- As you exhale, bend your legs deeply, with your inner thighs, knees, and feet still firmly glued to each other and heels flat on the ground.
- Let your lower spine open and rotate your pelvis back. Stop moving the pelvis as soon as you feel a contraction in your pelvic floor muscles.
- Now focus on the lower abdominal muscles that are just above your pubic bone and gently draw them in.
- Next, contract your pelvic floor muscles as you do in a Kegel, to stop the imaginary urine flow.
- Hold for multiple breaths and then release. Return to the original position.
What Types Of Urinary Incontinence Are There And What Are The Causes
There are various types of urinary incontinence with a range of causes. The most common types are stress urinary incontinence and overactive bladder. A mixed form of both types known as mixed incontinence is also common. Overflow incontinence, extra-urethral incontinence and neurogenic incontinence are less common types.
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Kegel Exercises For Men For Pelvic Floor Strengthening
Kegel exercises are done by tightening and relaxing the PC or pubococcygeus muscles located in the pelvic floor.
While many women are familiar with Kegel exercises for strengthening their pelvic floor muscle, Kegel exercises are also important for men. Keeping the pelvic floor muscle strong can be especially important for men prior to and after prostate surgery, for those with overactive bladder and for those with chronic conditions, such as diabetes. Men who have urinary and/or fecal incontinence and light leakage of urine right after urinating will often also benefit from Kegel exercises.
Kegel exercises, repeated consistently and done correctly, are like any other exercise they keep muscles strengthened and performing optimally. When the muscles are strong, they support the bladder and bowel, keeping these organs in their proper place and allow you to use additional exercises to help you control your symptoms. Women often are told to do Kegel exercises when they enter their childbearing years, and then continue doing them throughout the rest of their lives. Women learn early on that a strong pelvic floor can ward off or improve urine leakage. The same is true for men.
What Are Kegel Exercises and How to Do Them
First, and very importantly, you must locate the correct muscles to exercise. You can locate these muscles by:
Kegels Also Help Incomplete Emptying of the Bladder
For more general information on Male Urinary Incontinence, .
When Should I Do The Kegel Exercises
It can take six weeks or longer to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles so it is best to start doing your Kegel exercises before you have prostate cancer treatment. This will help you become better at doing the Kegel exercises and strengthen your pelvic floor muscles before your treatment starts. Remember, your pelvic floor muscles are like any other muscle in your body. It takes regular exercise and time to strengthen them.
Plan For Doing Your Kegel Exercises
- When will you practice your Kegel exercises?
- How will you get in touch with your doctor or health care team if you have questions about Kegel exercises?
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