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These clench and release exercises can be done anywhere!
Your pelvic floor muscles stretch like a hammock from the pubic bone in the front, to the tailbone in the back. They support the bladder, uterus, and colon. Your vagina, urethra, and colon all pass through your pelvic floor muscles.
Your pelvic floor muscles can weaken over time due to childbirth, pregnancy, be growing older, constipation, heavy lifting, or chronic coughing. It’s important to keep these muscles strong to regain bladder control and prevent your pelvic organs from lowering into your vagina.
First, find the right muscles. One way is by placing a clean finger inside your vagina and tightening your vaginal muscles around your finger. Another method is by stopping your flow of urine when you sit down to pee. You use your pelvic floor muscles for this action. Make sure you only use this method for learning purposes. Once you get used to how your muscles feel when they contract and relax, don’t start and stop your urine regularly because incomplete emptying of the bladder could cause a UTI. If you have trouble identifying these muscles, speak with your doctor.
Keep in mind that some conditions require relaxation techniques and downtraining. If you’re having trouble, don’t be embarrassed to ask your healthcare provider for feedback to ensure you are exercising the correct muscles. They may suggest pelvic floor physical therapy with biofeedback sensors to monitor your progress.
In addition to Kegel exercises, you can better control your bladder by limiting caffeine and alcohol, avoiding artificial sweeteners, and limiting other bladder irritants (tomatoes, citrus, spicy foods, corn syrup). Icon makes pee-proof underwear that will keep you dry and odor-free if a few drops leak out. Your doctor can also work out a bathroom schedule to retrain your bladder.
Just remember, when it comes to pelvic floor muscles and Kegel exercises: Strength comes from within!