Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises
These exercises strengthen your urinary sphincter and pelvic floor muscles — the muscles that help control urination. Your doctor may recommend that you do these exercises frequently. They are especially effective for stress incontinence, but may also help urge incontinence. To do pelvic floor muscle exercises (Kegel exercises), imagine that you’re trying to stop your urine flow. Squeeze the muscles you would use to stop urinating and hold for a count of three and repeat. With Kegel exercises, it can be difficult to know whether you’re contracting the right muscles and in the right manner.
In general, if you sense a pulling-up feeling when you squeeze, you’re using the right muscles. Men may feel their penises pull in slightly toward their bodies. To double-check that you’re contracting the right muscles, try the exercises in front of a mirror. Your abdominal, buttock or leg muscles shouldn’t tighten if you’re isolating the muscles of the pelvic floor.
If you’re still not sure whether you’re contracting the right muscles, ask your doctor for help. Your doctor may suggest you work with a physical therapist or try biofeedback techniques to help you identify and contract the right muscles. Your doctor may also suggest vaginal cones, which are weights that help women strengthen the pelvic floor.
In this procedure, electrodes are temporarily inserted into your rectum or vagina to stimulate and strengthen pelvic floor muscles. Gentle electrical stimulation can be effective for stress incontinence and urge incontinence, but it takes several months and multiple treatments to work.
Biofeedback is a treatment designed to assist patients in retraining their pelvic floor muscle in order to improve bladder and bowel function and pelvic floor disorders. This feedback is used to teach patients how strengthen and relax their pelvic floor muscle and gain control over pelvic floor muscle function. Biofeedback is a painless procedure that utilizes sensors and a computer to display muscle activity. Utilizing the biofeedback method, an individual can learn to isolate the correct muscles more efficiently and stop using incorrect muscles.