During menopause, the level of estrogen drops. This can cause a weakening of your bladder muscles and your urethral sphincter, which keeps urine in your bladder. Estrogen helps to keep the tissues of your bladder and urethra healthy, so when it begins to drop significantly, you can experience a leaking bladder.
But unlike some other losses women experience in menopause, a leaking bladder can be reversed by strengthening the pelvic floor with bladder control exercises. You can overcome the loss of pelvic strength with Kegel exercises and other techniques.
Dr. Arnold Kegel–the California gynecologist for whom Kegels were named–first published his ideas about kegel exercises in 1948. Kegels can be used as bladder control exercises are very effective for restoring bladder control and especially for stress incontinence. One Vibrant Nation member advises other members on the site to Kegel: “Kegel exercises may help increase circulation to the pelvic area to keep tissue healthy and strong.”
Another Vibrant Nation member agrees:
“Kegels work wonders when I do them properly. Incontinence is no longer an issue for me as long as I do them!”
Kegel exercises can be done anywhere, and very discreetly. The movement you do when you hold urine in is the movement you make when practicing Kegel exercises. Squeeze the muscles, hold for three seconds, then release. Repeat ten times. Complete one set of ten at least three times a day.
It can be difficult to tell if you’re doing Kegel exercises correctly at first. As one Vibrant Nation member said, “I was surprised to find that I had been doing the Kegels incorrectly for years and years. The muscles to flex and release are actually the same ones for the rectum — but I’d been strengthening the ones closer to the front of my body.”
Here are some tips to ensure that you do Kegel exercises correctly:
- Either sit or lie down before you do them
- Remember to keep breathing, as this is crucial to the exercise
- If you are doing them right, you’ll feel like your vagina is tightening and you’re pulling up your muscles.
- Be sure to focus just on your pelvic floor muscles for this bladder control exercise. Your abs, butt and thighs shouldn’t be flexed.
The great thing about Kegels is that they aren’t just a bladder control exercise. Kegels strengthens pelvic floor muscles which means fewer urgent trips to the bathroom, and a better sex life as well!
To learn more about leaking bladders, bladder weakness, or overactive bladder syndrome, download our FREE Special Report, 5 keys to manage a leaking bladder or overactive bladder for women over 50.