Stress Incontinence is the involuntary leakage of a few drops of urine, with an increase in intra-abdominal pressure like coughing, laughing, lifting, or sneezing. It usually results from the weakness of the pelvic floor musculature. Sometimes these muscles are tight or tensed. Stress continence is more common in women, especially after childbirth and pregnancy.
Following exercises help with the symptoms of stress incontinence-
- Diaphragmatic Breathing-lt helps in activating deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscles. It is also known as belly breathing. Lie down on your back with your knees bent. Keep your shoulders relaxed. Place hands on your abdomen, one on top of the other hand, just below your rib cage. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose and feel your belly rise into your hands. Then slowly exhale through pursed lips and feel your belly falling back to the starting position. Repeat 5-10 times, thrice a day. You can do this breathing exercise in a sitting too. Ensure that your breathing is relaxed and not forceful. This exercise helps with the coordination of the core muscles and the pelvic floor muscles.
- Squats-Stand with the feet hip-width apart. Bend at the knees to bring the buttocks toward the floor as if going to sit on the chair. Keep the back straight and lean slightly forward. The knees should be in line with the toes. Focus on tightening the buttocks and pelvic floor while returning to standing position. Repeat ten times.
- Bridge- In supine-lying with knees flexed together and pointing towards the ceiling, arms by your side with palms facing down. Inhale and push through your heels, then lift your lower back and hips so that the whole body from knees to shoulder is align in a slanting line. Your body must be resting on your upper back and shoulders. Hold for 10-15 seconds and repeat ten times.
- Pelvic floor exercises-
- Kegels-Squeeze the pelvic muscles as if trying to stop urine flow. The feeling is one of ‘squeeze and lift’. Hold it for 10 seconds, release, rest for a few seconds and repeat ten times.
- To exercise the muscles around the anus, squeeze and tighten the muscles around the anus as if you are trying to avoid passing gas. Hold for five seconds and release. Repeat 5-10 times.
- In all the pelvic floor exercises, internally muscles are working, so no external movement is seen. You can only feel the muscle contraction. Avoid any breath-holding while doing pelvic floor exercises.
Avoid any high-intensity exercises and exercises that increase intra-abdominal pressure, like sit-ups.
Exercise targeting the pelvic floor muscles is an effective way to improve the strength of pelvic floor muscles and help with urinary incontinence symptoms. These exercises should be performed consistently and with correct technique to achieve the desired outcome.
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