Urinary Incontinence Rehabilitation
Pelvic muscle exercises strengthen the group of muscles called the pelvic floor muscles. These muscles relax and contract under your command to control the opening and closing of your bladder. When these muscles are weak, urine leakage may result. However, you can exercise them and in many cases, regain your bladder control.
At first it may be hard to find these muscles, but can be done by starting and stopping your urine stream. Once you find the correct muscles, repeat the flexing and relaxing of these muscles without urinating. Begin by squeezing the muscles for a count of 5 seconds, and then relax for a count of 5. Work up to repeating these exercises for 2-3 minutes two to three times a day. These exercises will help strengthen your muscles around the bladder that help hold the urine.
To achieve the best results when performing these exercises, imagine yourself an athlete in training. You need to build the strength and the endurance of your muscles. THIS REQUIRES REGULAR EXERCISE.
It is recommended that you starting doing Kegel exercises six-eight weeks prior to surgery.
Begin by locating the muscles to be exercises:
- As you begin urinating, try to stop or slow the urine WITHOUT tensing the muscles of your legs, buttocks, or abdomen. This is very important. Using other muscles will defeat the purpose of the exercise.
- When you are able to stop or slow the stream of urine, you know that you have located the correct muscles. Feel the sensation of the muscles pulling inward and upward.
- You may squeeze the area of the rectum to tighten the anus as if trying not to pass gas and that will be using the correct muscles.
- Remember NOT to tense the abdominal, buttock, or thigh muscles.
Now you are ready to exercise regularly:
- After you have located the correct muscles, set aside time each day for three to four exercise sessions (morning, midday, and evening).
- Squeeze your muscles slowly and try to hold them tight for 10 seconds. Then, relax the muscles slowly. This contraction, 10 second hold, and relaxation make one “set.”
- You’ll want to do 10-20 “sets” 3-4 times a day
- When your pelvic floor muscles are very weak, you should begin by contracting the muscles for only three to five seconds. Begin doing what you can and continue faithfully. In a few weeks, you should be able to increase the amount of time you are able to hold the contraction and the number of exercise sets you are able to do. Your goal is to hold each contraction for 10 seconds, to relax for 10 seconds, and to complete 10-20 sets in each of the 3 to 4 exercise sessions per day.
- In the beginning, check yourself frequently by looking in the mirror and placing a hand on your abdomen and buttocks to ensure that you do not feel your belly, thigh, or buttock muscles move. If there is a movement, continue to experiment until you have isolated just the muscles of the pelvis floor.
- If you are unsure that you are contracting the correct muscles ask Dr. Leung to help you identify the proper muscle contraction.
- Your bladder control should begin to improve in 3-4 weeks. If you keep a record of urine leakage each day, you should begin to notice fewer instances of bladder leakage.
Exercise your pelvic muscles regularly for a lifetime to improve and maintain bladder control
- Pelvic muscle exercises also improve orgasmic function. Whether you are doing pelvic muscle exercise to improve or maintain bladder control or improve orgasmic function, or both, they must be done faithfully. Make them part of your routine.