About Your Pelvic Floor Muscles
Figure 1. Your pelvic floor muscles
Your pelvic floor muscles make up the bottom of your pelvis and support your pelvic organs . Theyre the muscles that relax when youre urinating , passing gas, or having a bowel movement . Your pelvic floor muscles are also the same muscles that you would use to hold in your urine in and prevent urine leakage or hold back gas.
To test this out, while you pass your first stream of urine in the morning, try to stop the stream. The muscles youre using are your pelvic floor muscles. Dont do this often because starting and stopping your urine stream every time you urinate can be harmful.
What Have I Learned By Reading This
You learned about:
- What a Kegel exercise is
- Why you should do Kegel exercise
- How to find your pelvic floor muscles
- How often you should do your Kegel exercises.
If you have any questions, please talk to your doctor or health care team. It is important for you to think about and plan how you will take care of yourself before and after your prostate cancer treatment. This knowledge will help you take better care of yourself and feel more in control so that you can get the most from your treatment.
Tighten Your Pelvic Floor With Kegel Exercises
Kegels, or pelvic floor muscle exercises, can benefit both men and women who have urinary incontinence by strengthening the muscles that support the bladder. This, in turn, helps prevent urine leaks and the feeling of urgency that comes with overactive bladder. And Kegels couldnt be easier to do: Per the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, simply squeeze or tighten your pelvic floor muscles these are the same muscles you use to stop the flow of urine or passing gas for a count of three and then slowly relax them for a count of three. Kegels are so easy, you can do them anytime even while sitting in your car at a stoplight or at your desk at work. Build up to doing one set of 10 to 15 squeezes, three times a day, and your bladder control should improve within six weeks.
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Kegel exercise strengthens the group of muscles called the pelvic floor muscles These muscles contract and relax around the bladder and the bladder opening at your command. When these muscles are weak, urine leakage may result. You can exercise these muscles just like any other muscle in your body, and building them up may help reduce your symptoms. It is important that you perform these exercises correctly and consistently to gain maximum benefit after prostate cancer surgery.
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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The Link Between Weak Bladder And Oab
When the smooth muscle within the bladder becomes overactive, it can lead to improper contraction and relaxation of the muscle. Problems in the nerves that stimulate the bladder, as well as some neurological conditions, may lead to OAB.
According to the Urology Care Foundation, as many as 30% of men and 40% of women in the United States have OAB symptoms.
The muscles in the lower abdomen that support the bladder and urethra are known as the pelvic muscles. For women, these muscles often stretch and weaken during pregnancy and childbirth, which can cause organs in the abdomen to shift.
A lack of muscle support around the bladder can cause sagging, which can lead to leakage. This can lead to stress incontinence, which often results from a mix of OAB and urge incontinence.
If a person is experiencing frequent urination or having urine leakage after a sudden urge to urinate, it may be time to talk with a doctor about treatment options to help with OAB.
However, there are also several lifestyle changes that a person can make to help to calm the bladder muscle, which may help improve OAB symptoms. Read on to learn more.
The sections below provide suggestions for ways to help manage a weak bladder, which may also improve OAB symptoms.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation
A similar technique to electro-acupuncture is called transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation . With TENS, electrodes are taped to the surface of the skin rather than being inserted like electro-acupuncture needles. TENS is used in people who have a condition that prohibits them from being needled, or who have a fear of being needled.
The mild electrical pulses of TENS are delivered through the skin to stimulate the nerves of the bladder. TENS is also useful for alleviating interstitial cystitis symptoms by strengthening the pelvic muscles that help control your bladder, increasing blood flow to the bladder, and releasing substances known to block pain.
A study published in the Journal of Mid-Life Health in 2017 found that TENS effectively and safely treated interstitial cystitis or chronic pelvic pain.
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Daily Pelvic Floor Exercises
These can be really effective at reducing leakage, but it’s important to do the exercises properly.
You can feel your pelvic floor muscles if you try to stop the flow of urine when you go to the toilet. To strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, sit comfortably and squeeze the muscles 10 to 15 times in a row. Avoid holding your breath, or tightening 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. Every week, you can add more squeezes, but be careful not to overdo it, and always have a rest in between sets of squeezes.
You may have to do these exercises for 3 months before you see any benefits.
Pelvic floor exercises are most effective when tailored to the person. Continence and women’s health or pelvic floor physiotherapists can assess your pelvic floor function and design an exercise program to meet your needs. Ask your GP for a referral.
The Continence Foundation of Australia has produced this video on how to do pelvic floor exercises:
The Continence Foundation of Australia has produced these videos to help explain the function and role of the pelvic floor muscles:
Will My Urine Leakage Stop If I Do The Kegel Exercises
Most men gain control of their urine leakage within nine to 12 months after their surgery. Studies with men show that Kegel exercises help lessen urine leakage. However, each manâs healing time is different.
Do not become discouraged if you have urine leakage. If you do your Kegel exercises on a daily basis, you can expect to see some results. You may have a great improvement or you may help keep your urine leakage from getting worse. You will need to continue doing your Kegel exercises each day so that your pelvic floor muscles stay strong.
If you have any questions or concerns about urine leakage , how to do a Kegel exercise, or if you would like to know about other things that may help with urine leakage, please talk to your doctor or your healthcare team.
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What Is Bladder Training
Bladder training is a way of learning to manage urinary incontinence. It helps you change your urination habits. Its generally used for stress incontinence or urge incontinence. Stress incontinence is when urine leaks because of sudden pressure on your lower stomach muscles. This could be when you cough, laugh, lift something, or exercise. Urge incontinence is when the need to urinate comes on so fast that you cant get to a toilet in time. Bladder training can also be used for a combination of the 2 types .
Bladder training can help by:
- Lengthening the amount of time between bathroom trips.
- Increasing the amount of urine your bladder can hold.
- Improving your control over the urge to urinate.
Plan Ahead: Scope Out Bathrooms Before You Leave Home
If you have urinary incontinence, its a good idea to know where the bathrooms are located at unfamiliar destinations, such as restaurants, museums, shopping centers, and parks. Try finding a map or directory ahead of time online. One useful Procter & Gamble app, Sit or Squat: Restrooms Near Me, can help you find a clean public restroom near your current location. It can be downloaded for free from the App Store or Google Play.
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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.
- The genitals, urethra, tailbone, and anus are part of the pelvic floor.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor Or Nurse
- Is the treatment Im having for prostate cancer likely to cause any urinary problems?
- What type of urinary problems might I get?
- What should I do if I cant urinate?
- Will my urinary problems get better?
- What treatments are available?
- What are the risks and side effects of treatments for urinary problems?
- What can I do to help myself?
- Where can I get pads and other products?
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Reclining Bound Angle Pose
- Remain on the floor, but remove your yoga block, while keeping your knees bent.
- Inhale and slowly spread your knees, dropping them to the floor on the sides.
- Exhale while slowly bringing your knees together and lifting your pelvis off the floor.
- Contract your pelvic muscles.
- Release them and return to the floor.
Bladder Control Exercises For Women
Urinary incontinence is a challenge for over a third of older adults, so if you live with UI, you are not alone. Knowledge about UI is increasing, but despite how common it is, there is still a damaging stigma around this challenge.
If you live with UI, it can also become a challenge to feel in control of your own life. However, there are exercises and tips to help you regain this control and get back to doing the things you love! This guide will help you understand your pelvic floor muscles and how bladder exercises can help you regain strength in these muscles andcontrol your bladder.
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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.
Next time you have to urinate, start to go and then stop. Feel the muscles in your vagina , bladder, or anus get tight and move up. These are the pelvic floor muscles. If you feel them tighten, you have done the exercise right. Your thighs, buttock muscles, and abdomen should remain relaxed.
If you still are not sure you are tightening the right muscles:
- Imagine that you are trying to keep yourself from passing gas.
- Women: Insert a finger into your vagina. 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.
- 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.
Choosing An Incontinence Product
Choosing an incontinence product depends on the severity of your incontinence and your mobility. If you only have the occasional light leak, a low absorbency light product is ideal. Typically, small incontinence pads are the most ideal for light incontinence. For more moderate leaks, a larger pad or pant product is recommended. For heavy to severe incontinence, an all in one pad is ideal. However, it is very rare that people have heavy incontinence after Prostate Surgery.
If you have low mobility or are immobile, a pad is your better option. Pants are harder to put on and take off than simple pads, as they require a full product change.
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Tips To Get Your Bladder Under Control
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.
How To Overcome Bladder Weakness
If you want to go about your day worry-free, there are pelvic floor muscle exercises and yoga poses that can help you treat bladder weakness. Studies have shown that these exercises can restore the strength of the weakened muscles in the pelvic floor and bladder, which may disrupt normal urinary function in adults.i To strengthen these muscles, you need to learn how to relax them.ii
In this article, we will show you to how to perform 5 beginner-friendly bladder weakness exercises, including some yoga poses.
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Limit Caffeine And Alcohol
Caffeine and alcohol have a diuretic effect on your body. That means they increase the amount of urine you produce. If youre having trouble controlling your bladder, consuming caffeinated beverages may be contributing to the problem.
To help manage your symptoms, consider limiting caffeine and alcohol, or avoiding them altogether. Coffee, tea, soda, chocolate, and certain medications are common sources of caffeine.
Tips To Keep Your Bladder Healthy
People rarely talk about bladder health, but everyone is affected by it. Located in the lower abdomen, the bladder is a hollow organ, much like a balloon, that stores urine. Urine contains waste and extra fluid left over after the body takes what it needs from what we eat and drink. Each day, adults pass about a quart and a half of urine through the bladder and out of the body.
As people get older, the bladder changes. The elastic bladder tissue may toughen and become less stretchy. A less flexible bladder cannot hold as much urine as before and might make you go to the bathroom more often. The bladder wall and pelvic floor muscles may weaken, making it harder to empty the bladder fully and causing urine to leak.
While you cant control everything that affects your bladder, here are 15 steps you can take to keep it as healthy as possible:
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Exercise : Sit And Squeeze
- Sit comfortably and squeeze your pelvic floor muscles 1015 times. Imagine youre sitting on a marble and tighten your muscles as if lifting the marble
- Dont hold your breath or tighten your stomach, bottom or thigh muscles. Instead, breathe deeply and slowly
- With practice, try holding each squeeze for a few seconds. Have a rest between each one for a second or two
- Do these pelvic floor exercises for a few minutes every day and gradually add extra squeezes each week
The Long Wet Road Back To Normal
JP Mac is an Emmy award-winning animation writer who worked for Warner Bros. and Disney, and a novelist. He is also very funny.
So, when he wrote a short ebook about his experience with prostate cancer including his diagnosis in 2014 at age 61, the rush to find the right treatment and get it done before his health insurance was going to expire, his laparoscopic-robotic prostatectomy and the complications afterward, and his five-month battle to recover urinary continence after the surgery he could legitimately have written a soap opera, or maybe even a tear-jerker but he didnt.
Instead, his ebook has a title that sounds like 1950s pulp fiction: They Took My Prostate: Cancer, Loss, Hope. Its not Prostate Cancer Lite, and it doesnt minimize what he or anyone else has gone through to get back to normal after radical prostatectomy. Far from it in fact, his short, hopeful essay is a testament to what it takes to recover from this difficult but life-saving surgery: a balanced perspective, a good sense of humor, a great support system, and plain old hard work and persistence.
Heres a message you hardly ever hear about prostate cancer, or any illness, for that matter: Its okay to laugh! That doesnt mean its not scary, and that it doesnt wear you down, or that youre not afraid you wont ever get back to normal.
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