Are you experiencing bladder leakage? Have you tried kegels exercises, but are not noticing any improvement in your bladder leakage?
Many of our patients ask when they come to see us… “aren’t you just going to teach me how to do Kegel exercises? I have already been doing those exercise and they are not helping. I am still leaking so what are you going to tell me that’s different.”
I am going to give you 3 reasons why Kegel exercises may not be helping your bladder leakage.
First, a brief explanation:
A Kegel exercise is the Layman’s term for a contraction of the pelvic floor muscle. When our pelvic floor muscles contract, they lift up and into our body and they close off around the urethra, vagina, and anus preventing pee and poop from coming out. These muscles are working all day for us but they need to work extra hard in situations where there’s more the load through the pelvis such as when we cough, laugh, sneeze, jump, run, or lift. Therefore, if a person is experiencing bladder leakage, they are told by their doctor, or they read in a magazine that they should be doing Kegel exercises to stop the leakage.
You maybe doing the exercise incorrectly. Research studies have shown that of women who are told to do Kegel exercises, about 40% of them are doing the exercise wrong. They think they are contracting the pelvic floor muscles but they may actually be pushing out on the muscles instead or using all together different muscles.
Your pelvic floor muscles might be too tight instead of too weak. A tight, tense muscle is not a muscle that does its job effectively. A muscle needs to be able to contract relax and move. Some women keep their pelvic floor tight all day long and they do not even realize that they are doing it. If the pelvic floor muscles are already too tight, doing more Kegel Exercises, tensing the muscle more isn’t going to help. You need to first learn to relax the pelvic floor and teach it how to move better before you can strengthen it.
Your leakage might not be a strength issue at all. It might be a timing issue. You may not be recruiting the muscles at the right time. You may need to work with someone to help you figure out how to get the pelvic floor muscles to contract at the right time. Many women can do Kegel exercises just fine when they are laying down or sitting still, but when they have to coordinate them with other movements the timing goes out the door.
So if you are experiencing bladder leakage and have tried Kegel exercises and they don’t seem to be working, it may be time to partner with a pelvic health physical therapist to help you figure out the root cause of your leakage and get you on the right path to dry days.