Is It Too Late To Do Pelvic Floor Exercises For Incontinence?

Is It Too Late To Do Pelvic Floor Exercises For Incontinence?

What are pelvic floor muscles?

The pelvic floor muscles are a group of ligaments that make up your pelvic region. For women, the pelvic floor is the group of muscles, nerves, and ligaments that support the bladder, rectum, and reproductive organs. In men, the pelvic floor is the muscles that protect the bladder, rectum other organs in the pelvic region. Though it may be more common in women, men are also capable of developing pelvic floor weakness. In fact, as many as 1 in 8 men have issues with their pelvic floor.

Symptoms of pelvic floor weakness in women

Pelvic floor muscle weakness symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Painful urination that is not related to a UTI
  • Painful intercourse
  • Bowel difficulties
  • Pelvic muscle spasms 
  • Lower back pain

What causes pelvic floor weakness in women?

In general, pelvic floor muscles are experiencing tension from various causes. Common causes of pelvic floor weakness are childbirth or the natural aging process. In less common cases, it can happen early on in life. Certain things can also cause pelvic floor weakness as well such as:

  • Stress
  • Injury to the pelvic region
  • Bowel issues such as constipation
  • Connective tissue disorders
  • Age
  • Pregnancy 
  • Can be hereditary

Benefits of pelvic floor exercises

Having a weakened pelvic floor can be inconvenient and painful. If not strengthened, it can cause many health issues, such as bowel incontinence and constipation or even pelvic organ prolapse. It is very beneficial and relatively easy to strengthen your pelvic floor by doing exercises. Some exercises can even be done while driving or watching television on the couch.

Exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor:

Kegels

As with most things, practice makes perfect. Once you become familiar with kegel exercises and how to properly do them, you will learn many can be done at home, day or night. When you do kegel exercises, you engage the same muscle as you would when pausing urine midstream. It is often similar to trying to hold in your gas. The goal is to activate this muscle by tightening the muscle around your vagina and anus (identical to stopping yourself during urination or holding in gas) for a few seconds and then releasing it. Kegel exercises can be done as often during the day as you feel comfortable. The goal is to do this kegel exercise in 10 or so increments. So contract for a few seconds, then release a few seconds, and so on. It is important to note that kegel exercises should never cause extreme discomfort or pain. If this is the case, it is essential to reach out to your general practitioner.

Healthy diet and exercise

Maintaining a healthy diet and weight is essential when strengthening your pelvic floor. The more weight you carry, the more pressure is pressed down on your pelvic floor. Also, regular exercising is essential and activates your ab muscles. Be careful when heavy lifting as it can contribute to pelvic floor weakness.

Yoga

Yoga works to stretch and strengthen all muscles of your body, not just your pelvic floor. Specific yoga poses, such as downward-facing dog, target your pelvic floor muscles. Yoga has the ability to improve women's pelvic floor strength while decreasing their bowel incontinence.

How long does it take to strengthen the pelvic floor with exercise?

If kegels are done regularly, you can expect reduced pelvic floor weakness in just a few weeks. However, depending on the severity of your pelvic floor weakness, it may take a few months to expect noticeable results. It is never too early or too late to start making kegel and other exercises part of your daily exercise routine.

Can pelvic floor exercises cure incontinence?

Pelvic floor weakness is treatable with exercises and without the need for surgery. Most exercises can be done at home. Some people find it helpful to seek a physical therapist in addition to at-home exercises. A physical therapist can help with a treatment called biofeedback. It has helped over 75% of people to strengthen and retrain their pelvic muscles.

Leakproof underwear

When you experience pelvic floor weakness, one of the most concerning things you deal with daily is keeping your underwear dry. Leakproof underwear provides day or night protection without the need for frequent changes or leaks. They are incredibly comfortable to wear and discrete under clothing with no-show edges.

Other benefits of our leakproof underwear include…

  • Designed to help you feel fresh and dry.
  • Buttery-soft and designed to move with your body. 
  • Feature Leak-Loc® technology. 
  • Comfortable

Sources:

Continence Foundation Of Australia. Pelvic floor muscles,


https://www.continence.org.au/about-continence/continence-health/pelvic-floor

The Conversation. Men have pelvic floors too – and can benefit when they exercise them regularly,


https://theconversation.com/men-have-pelvic-floors-too-and-can-benefit-when-they-exercise-them-regularly-184451#:~:text=Though%20pelvic%20floor%20problems%20are,pelvic%20floor%2C%20bladder%20or%20bowel


Cleveland Clinic. Pelvic Floor Dysfunction,


https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/14459-pelvic-floor-dysfunction


NHS. What are pelvic floor exercises?


https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/lifestyle/what-are-pelvic-floor-exercises/#:~:text=Strengthening%20your%20pelvic%20floor%20muscles,from%20doing%20pelvic%20floor%20exercises


National Association for Continence. Kegal Exercises,


https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/lifestyle/what-are-pelvic-floor-exercises/#:~:text=Strengthening%20your%20pelvic%20floor%20muscles,from%20doing%20pelvic%20floor%20exercises


POGP. The Pelvic Floor Muscles - a Guide for Women, 


https://www.iow.nhs.uk/Downloads/Pelvic%20Floor%20Physiotherapy/Pelvic%20Floor%20Exercise%20for%20women.pdf


Advanced Gynecology.  Can Yoga Help Strengthen Pelvic Floor Muscles?


https://www.advancedgynecology.com/2022/can-yoga-help-strengthen-pelvic-floor-muscles/


NHS Inform. Pelvic floor muscles,


https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/lifestyle/what-are-pelvic-floor-exercises/#:~:text=Strengthening%20your%20pelvic%20floor%20muscles,from%20doing%20pelvic%20floor%20exercises


In Touch NYC. Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy Tools & Techniques,


https://itnycpt.com/pelvic-floor-pt-tools-techniques/

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