If you have experienced (or are currently experiencing) light bladder leaks, you have most certainly looked for solutions to keep you dry and maintain your day-to-day lifestyle. Any quick search on the Internet for incontinence products will provide you with overwhelming information on pads, liners, surgeries, medications, and even injections which are all on the market for purchase or by prescription. Pelvic floor exercises are also commonly recommended to help people with light bladder leaks. With “holistic” and “natural” solutions becoming more popular than medications or surgeries, it’s not hard to believe that women’s health companies have jumped at the chance to bring consumers a different solution for their incontinence. These kinds of products can be as simple as a jade egg to a specially shaped electric device that connects to your phone, and they usually come at a hefty price. Are these kinds of products even worth it?
What are Kegels?Let’s talk pelvic floor and kegels. Your pelvic floor is “the layer of muscles that support the pelvic organs and span the bottom of the pelvis. The pelvic organs are the bladder and bowel in men, and bladder, bowel and uterus in women.” Certain events and medical conditions can weaken or damage the pelvic floor, which may be what is causing your light bladder leaks. Women who have given birth, smokers, obese people, and those who have undergone a surgical procedure that interferes with, or involves, the pelvic floor, are more likely to develop light bladder leaks. Like any muscle group, to restrengthen and restore the weak pelvic floor muscles, exercise and patience is vital. To hone in and really work these muscles, kegel exercises are usually recommended. To properly perform a kegel, the Mayo Clinic suggests the following:
- Find the right muscles - To identify your pelvic floor muscles, stop urination in midstream. Once you've identified your pelvic floor muscles you can do the exercises in any position, although you might find it easiest to do them lying down at first.
- Perfect your technique - To do kegels, imagine you are sitting on a marble and tighten your pelvic muscles as if you're lifting the marble. Try it for three seconds at a time, then relax for a count of three.
- Maintain your focus - For best results, focus on tightening only your pelvic floor muscles. Be careful not to flex the muscles in your abdomen, thighs or buttocks. Avoid holding your breath. Instead, breathe freely during the exercises.
- Repeat three times a day - Aim for at least three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions a day. Over time, just like any other workout, you should see (and feel!) the results.