Start a pelvic floor muscle exercise programme right now! Sometimes you'll hear your friends mention doing their “Kegels”. That is not a new shopping technique - it is only another word for pelvic floor exercises.
What is the best way to do pelvic floor exercises?
Imagine that you are in the movies and you need to stop yourself from passing wind. The muscles that you use to do this are your pelvic floor muscles. Don't hold your breath, squeeze your legs together or clench your bottom.
A pelvic floor squeeze / lift should squeeze up hard and fast and each squeeze should be held hold as long as you can up to the count of six. These squeeze/lifts should be done without a rest time between. There should be NO downward movement felt between your legs.
How else can I exercise my pelvic floor muscles?
To make sure that your pelvic floor muscles work just as they should, it is important to exercise them just the way they are meant to be used. The hardest work for these muscles is to hold against the pressure of a strong hard cough. Learn to use "the knack" - squeeze up your pelvic floor and brace it tight before each cough or sneeze. Crossing your legs when you sneeze might help to keep you dry, but you still need to use a strong pelvic floor muscle squeeze at the same time.
It is a good idea to do this exercise in the shower. That way, if there is any leaking it should be less of a bother for you.
How many exercises should I do?
Try to exercise at least three times each day. Find the times that will be easiest for you to remember.
Women often find that they forget to do their exercises. This is understandable - we all live such busy hectic lives. Forgetting to do your exercise only becomes a problem when you give up completely. When you DO remember to do your exercises, give yourself a pat on the back - concentrate on the positive, not the negative, and keep going from there.
General health tips
It is important for you to avoid constipation. Repeatedly straining to use your bowels can have a very damaging effect on your pelvic floor muscles.
A chronic cough or hay fever can also impact badly on your pelvic floor muscles. Speak to your doctor about getting any of these problems under control.
Be aware that being overweight places yet another burden on your pelvic floor muscles. Many studies show a strong association between urinary incontinence and increased BMI.
Exercise, recreational or sporting activities are of vital importance in keeping women fit and active well into old age.
DO NOT STOP EXERCISING! Whatever happens! It is important for women to be active.
Whilst you are training your pelvic floor use Kotex® panty-liners for any potential embarrassing leaks.