Exercise and Bladder Control
Do you …
- Lose urine when you exercise, laugh, cough, sneeze or lift heavy objects?
- Get up to go to the bathroom two or more times in a night?
- Go to the bathroom more than eight times in 24 hours?
- Have sudden, strong urges to urinate?
- Have pelvic or bladder pain?
- Feel a heaviness in your pelvic region or as if you are sitting on something?
If so, you could have incontinence (learn more about incontinence in women and incontinence in men). Don’t let these symptoms keep you from walking or running. It’s important to know you are not alone and help is available. Twelve million Americans have incontinence, and 80 percent of incontinence cases can be cured or improved. Talk to your doctor to learn more about the following treatments:
- Education and dietary counseling (Yes, some foods and beverages such as alcoholic beverages, coffee, tea, sugar, chocolate and spicy foods can contribute to incontinence.)
- Biofeedback and electrical stimulation to the pelvic region
- Pelvic floor exercises
- Surgery, only if necessary
How to exercise and stay dry
Don’t strain. Weightlifting should not cause your eyeballs to bulge or your teeth to grind. If it does, you may be putting too much stress on your pelvic floor.
Avoid trampoline jumping, parachute jumping and high-impact aerobics, which can contribute to injuries of the support tissues of your bladder and/or vagina.
Strengthen your pelvic muscles with Kegels. These pelvic floor exercises strengthen the muscles that support the urethra, bladder, uterus and rectum. A strong pelvic floor will prevent urinary “dribbling”when exercising, coughing, laughing or sneezing.
The “quick flick” is performed by quickly contracting and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles. Do sets of 10-20 three times a day.
The “slow squeeze” is performed by slowly squeezing the pelvic floor muscles. Do sets of 15-20, three to six times a day, holding the muscles contracted for about 3 seconds.
Exercise the pelvic floor while stopped in your car at a traffic light or stop sign, while watching commercials or talking on the telephone. Remember, Kegels are discreet. Nobody will know you are doing them.
Doing Kegels every day really does work. Don’t give up!