Many, particularly mothers who have given birth, experience leaks when they laugh, cough, sneeze, jump or lift things. These actions place pressure on your bladder making it likely to leak urine when the support of strong pelvic muscles is lacking.
By strengthening your pelvic floor, you can reduce the likelihood of involuntary leaks.
What are the pelvic floor’s functions?
Your pelvic floor muscles act as a “floor”, offering support to your pelvic organs, including the bladder, bowel, and uterus. This is why, when weakened by pregnancy, vaginal birth, age, surgery, or other, involuntary leaks can occur. It also contributes to sexual health & arousal. When weakened, potential sexual pleasure can also be affected.
How can you strengthen your pelvic floor muscles?
Here are 2 pelvic floor exercises you can do from home:
Simple Kegel exercise
- Lie on the floor, knees bent & feet flat on the floor.
- Find your pelvic floor by inhaling, then gently exhaling. During your exhale draw in your lower abdomen. While doing so, squeeze in your lower urethra as if you wanted to hold in gas or urine. Hold for a few seconds. When you release you should feel the muscles of your pelvic floor releasing and dropping.
- Repeat this motion of inhaling then pulling your navel to your spine, contracting your pelvic floor muscles, holding for 2-3 seconds, then release.
- Repeat this sequence 10-15 times for 3 sets. Don’t forget to maintain steady breathing throughout.
- Lie on the floor, knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and pelvis in a neutral position.
- Inhale deeply, then exhale drawing your pelvic floor upwards & your abdomen in (think, navel to spine).
- Slowly lift one leg up to a tabletop position. Then, bring the other leg up, all the while keeping the abdomen engaged.
- Now that both legs are in a tabletop position, slowly lower one foot down and touch the floor with your toes.
- Lift the leg back up to the tabletop position and slowly lower the other leg in the same motion. Ensure your core remains engaged throughout this entire process.
- Repeat the movement, alternating legs, 10-15 times for 2 sets.
You can also look into consulting with a pelvic floor specialist to understand and determine your body’s needs.
Don’t forget that although it may be bothersome, urine leaks are completely NORMAL and much more prevalent than one may expect.