Pelvic health is an important and often overlooked part of any person’s physical well-being. Ignoring it for too long can lead to embarrassing and frustrating problems like urinary incontinence. Fortunately there are ways to help relieve this problem. One of the most effective can be pelvic floor exercises which, when taught by a proper physical therapy instructor, can eliminate the problem completely.
Anti-incontinence exercises typically focus on pelvic floor muscles (muscles that hold the bladder in place), properly termed the levator ani muscles. If these muscles weaken the bladder can move out of its normal position within the abdominal cavity resulting in a higher rate of stress induced incontinence.
The first step towards increasing pelvic health is creating greater awareness and control of the levator ani muscles through repetitive contraction of them. These exercises, often referred to as Kegals, involve voluntary contraction of the urinary sphincter to tighten and tone pelvic tissue that has become weak over time.
Young women can easily benefit from doing these exercises on their own, as it’s much easier for younger people to identify and control the levator muscle group. Older adults may struggle to find the correct muscle group and may require assistance from a trained physical therapy professional.
These exercises are typically performed by drawing in or lifting up the levator ani muscles. This is done in day-to-day life to control urination or defecation. Practitioners should avoid contracting the abdominal, buttock, or inner thigh muscles. There are a few, easy every-day exercises that can be done to establish awareness and control of these muscle groups including: trying to stop the flow of urine while in the middle of going to the bathroom; squeezing the anal sphincter as if to prevent passing gas; and tightening the muscles around the vagina.
Try performing the squeezing exercise 5 times in a row, holding each squeeze for about 5 seconds, every hour. Over time, practitioners should be able to increase the duration and intensity of the squeeze. Be sure not to contract abdominal muscles while performing the exercise as this can be detrimental to pelvic health and require increased physical therapy. To effectively increase pelvic health these exercises must be performed every day for at least 3-4 months. If a person does not notice improvement after this time they may require additional medical help.
Are you experiencing problems with urinary incontinence and want to find a solution? Enrolling in physical therapy will give you access to trained professionals who WILL help you find a solution without risking your health. Call Life Fitness today to schedule an appointment with one of our physical therapists!
Life Fitness Physical Therapy in Owings Mills, MD and other Baltimore Physical Therapy locations are open for you to start and maintain a healthy fitness routine. Contact Life Fitness Physical Therapy to schedule your appointment by calling 410.368.1026 or click here today.
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