The act of peeing (even a little) when your body undergoes stress is called Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI). A female who has NOT been pregnant or given birth can also have SUI. This is NOT okay. Treating SUI is not as simple as just doing “kegels.” The pelvic floor is a complex system of muscles responsible for bladder and bowel control that interact with the hips and core to, among other things, prevent leakage. If ignored too long poor coordination, endurance and strength of the pelvic floor can lead to pain. If you think you’ve tried “kegels” in the past and they haven’t worked, there is more you can do!
1. Perform Kegels correctly
2. See a Physical Therapist
How to perform a kegel: Start seated on a firm surface. Sit up tall with your feet flat on the ground.
1. Take a deep breath in through your nose, allow your stomach to relax. On your exhale gently pull your belly-button towards your spine engaging your abdominals. Practice 5-10 times
Continue to breathe in and relax the belly, breathe out and engage the belly while performing the following actions
3. On your next inhale think about your pelvic floor (between your sit bones, pubic bone and tailbone) and allow the muscles to relax. You should feel the muscles lower down toward the chair.
4. On the exhale, contract your pubic bone and tailbone and at the same time pull your sit bones towards each other. This is engaging your pelvic floor. Imagine with this action you are picking up a marble.
*Stop performing if you experience any pain or do not understand if you can fully relax the pelvic floor on the inhalation. You can be doing yourself more harm than good!
*This is not a one size fits all exercise program, and does not end at the “kegel” exercise. It is important to use the principles of pelvic floor contraction to carry over in to lifting, jumping or just going about your day!
If you still don’t know if you are performing kegels correctly or have more questions about Stress Urinary Incontinence, come see Dr. Lauren Croal at Wisconsin Orthopedic Physical Therapy! 414-763-2941