Occasional Incontinence?


Urinary incontinence — the loss of bladder control — is a common and often embarrassing problem. The severity ranges from occasionally leaking urine when you’ve held it too long to have an urge to urinate that's so sudden and strong you don't get to a toilet in time.


There are various reasons for developing incontinence, including pregnancy, diet, stress, infection, menopause, medications, surgery, enlarged prostate, and, of course, getting older to name a few.


As people age, the muscles in the bladder and urethra lose some of their strength so even laughing, coughing, or sneezing can cause a leak. Changes with age reduce how much the bladder can hold and increase the chances of involuntary urine release.


Most patients are told to try Kegel exercises, which support the uterus, bladder, small intestine, and rectum. In some cases, surgery is recommended. If you have tried Kegel exercises or other treatment options and did not notice a significant improvement, you may consider the following exercise that has helped my clients.


How I discovered it?


After I strained my abdominal muscles while practicing yoga, I had a few sessions of physical therapy to help with my recovery. One of the exercises I learned had to do with strengthening my adductor muscles. Those are the muscles in the inner thigh.


After about 6 weeks I noticed something unexpected.


A few months prior to that whenever I delayed emptying my bladder too long or was in a hurry as soon as I reached a toilet a drop or two got out too early. It was occasional and I attributed it to the psychology of seeing the toilet making it harder to hold. However, after 6 weeks of strengthening my adductor muscles, the issue was completely resolved.


So when any of my clients are dealing with incontinence I put them on this program and after 6-8 weeks either they notice significant improvement or complete resolution of their incontinence.


How do you do it?


Lie down on your back on the floor or a flat surface with your knees bent, feet on the floor, and place a small ball, like a soccer ball, between your knees. Then squeeze the ball slightly until you feel your adductor muscles tighten up a little, hold for 5-10 seconds, and repeat 5 times. Rest for 30 seconds and repeat 5 more times. Do 2 sets of 5 repetitions for the first week.


If you feel any pain or discomfort, reduce hold time and/or repetitions. Consult a health care professional if needed.


In this video Michael Lau, DPT, shows you how it is done.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGkL08tIDl8


Week 2

Press the ball for 10 seconds for 10 repetitions. Do 2 sets.


Week 3

Press the ball for 10 seconds for 10 repetitions. Do 3 sets.


Week 4

Press the ball 12-15 seconds for 10 repetitions. Do 3 sets.


Week 5

Breathe in and as you exhale tighten your abdominal muscles. Then press the ball for 15 seconds for 10 repetitions. Do 3 sets.


If you feel any pain or discomfort, reduce time and repetitions. Consult a health care professional if needed.


Week 6

Breathe in and as you exhale tighten your abdominal muscles and lightly pull in your pelvic floor muscles. Then press the ball for 20 seconds for 10 repetitions. Do 3 sets.


If you feel any pain or discomfort, reduce time and repetitions. Consult a health care professional if needed.


Week 7

Breathe in and as you exhale tighten your abdominal muscles, pull in your pelvic floor muscles, and raise your hips slightly off the floor. Then press the ball for 20 seconds for 10 repetitions. Do 3 sets.


If you feel any pain or discomfort, reduce time and repetitions. Consult a health care professional if needed.


Week 8

Breathe in and as you exhale tighten your abdominal muscles, pull in your pelvic floor muscles, and raise your hips slightly off the floor. Then press the ball for 30 seconds for 10 repetitions. Do 3 sets.


Hope by this time you have either noticed significant improvements or complete resolution of your symptoms. If not, you can increase hold time and/or repetitions.


You can also try other exercises for strengthening the pelvic floor muscles that your physical therapist can recommend.


Do I have to do this forever and ever?

No. The results can last for a very long time. However, now you know what to do if symptoms return.


Stay informed. Stay well.

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