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What Are Kegel Exercises? An FAQ For Women Who Suffer From Urinary Incontinence

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When you're diagnosed with urinary incontinence, you're likely to hear mention of Kegel exercises. Knowing what Kegel exercises are and how they can help you manage your urinary incontinence can help you regain control of your bladder.

What are Kegel exercises?

Kegel exercises are an activity that can help people who suffer from urinary incontinence. Kegel exercises are designed to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor.

Where and how can you perform Kegel exercises?

Kegel exercises can be performed in any location and can be done while standing or sitting. To perform Kegel exercises, follow this procedure:

  1. Flex the pelvic muscles you use to stop your urination. Flexing the muscles at the beginning of the exercises will help you find your control over the muscles.
  2. Squeeze the pelvic muscles for a few seconds, then release the muscles.
  3. Repeat step 3 several times in a row.

Perform Kegel exercises each morning, afternoon and evening. Each week, add a second to the length of time that you spend flex the muscles, until you're flexing the muscles for 10 seconds each time.

How long does it take Kegel exercises take to work?

Kegel exercises can take 12 weeks or more to start yielding real results, so women suffering from urinary continence should keep up the exercises for at least 3 months before expecting to see a change in their bladder control.

What other methods of non-surgical bladder control can be used to treat urinary incontinence?

There are many ways that women can control their urinary incontinence through non-surgical means, including:

  • Bladder training. Women who suffer from UI can train their bladder to go to the bathroom at regular intervals. Many women will start by setting an alarm to go to the restroom every couple hours. Over time, that length of time is extended. Over weeks or months, many women can train the bladder to hold urine for several hours at a stretch. Women who are attempting to train their bladder must make an effort to hold urine in their bladder when the urge to urinate occurs between scheduled bathroom times.
  • Magnetic stimulation. This is a type of therapy that is performed at clinics and doctor's offices. In this type of therapy, a patient suffering from UI sits on a chair with a magnetic seat. The magnetic field around the patient causes the muscles in the pelvis to tense repeatedly, similar to Kegel exercises.
  • Electrical stimulation. For this type of therapy, women patients are given a device that is worn like a tampon. This device stimulates the muscles in the pelvis.

If you suffer from urinary incontinence and have questions about non-surgical treatments, talk to your doctor about Kegel exercises and other non-surgical bladder control methods available to you. He or she can answer your questions and make recommendations to help you control your condition.