Exercises for Stress Urinary Incontinence

Quincy AdamExercise, SUI Lifestyle

If you are dealing with stress urinary incontinence and the possibly embarrassing moments when urine leaks because of laughing hard, sneezing, exercising, coughing, having sex and even standing up, your doctor may recommend you begin an exercise program.

Your exercise program will involve specific pelvic floor exercises, also called Kegel exercises, to strengthen the muscles and tissues that support the bladder and help regulate the release of urine.

Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises

Pelvic floor exercises or Kegel exercises were named for Dr. Arnold Kegel, an American obstetrician/gynecologist, who recommended them to help women who were experiencing bladder leaks after childbirth and a condition called pelvic organ prolapse. The Kegel exercises involve repeatedly contracting and relaxing muscles that are found at the front, back and sides of the pelvic bone.

How to do your Kegel Exercises

Find a quiet, private spot such as your bedroom or bathroom where you can concentrate. Lie on the floor. Pull in the pelvic muscle and hold for a count of 3. Then relax for a count of 3. Work up to 10-15 repeats each time you exercise.

To find these muscles, imagine you are trying to stop passing gas. Squeeze the muscles you would use. If you sense a “pulling” feeling, you are squeezing the right muscles.

  • Imagine you are sitting on a marble and you want to pick up the marble with your vagina – you squeeze as you “pull” it into your vagina.
  •  Lie down and put your finger inside your vagina.
  • Try not to tighten your stomach, legs or other muscles because this might put more pressure on your bladder control muscles. And remember to breathe!

1.National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Kegel Exercises. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/bladder-control-problems-women/kegel-exercises. Accessed on October 31, 2017. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/bladder-control-problems-women