Exercises for Urine Leakage - So simple, they can be done while sitting?

Exercises for Urine Leakage - So simple, they can be done while sitting?

Ever wondered why you were suddenly experiencing incontinence or urine leakage? Whether a few drops when you laugh or cough, uncontrollable leakage or the feeling that your bladder is never truly empty? Well you are not alone - urine leakage or incontinence affects up to 40% of all Singaporeans, what’s lesser known is that there are simple exercises which can have a tremendous impact on your bladder and pelvic health. Just like regular exercise is necessary to maintain a healthy body and mind, so are healthy exercises for your pelvic floor! 

We recently concluded a workshop for volunteers from NTUC Health in partnership with seasoned physiotherapists Laura and Ezora from Health2U - in this blog post we will cover some of the tips and tricks we learnt and shared during the session! 

Firstly - what is urine leakage? Urine leakage or incontinence is a common condition which can affect people of all ages and genders. While ageing, pregnancy, prostate issues, underlying medical conditions and surgeries can play a role in incontinence it ultimately results from weakened pelvic floor muscles. When the muscles weaken, so does their ability to support the bladder and control our urinary function which results in leaks. 

Can Exercise Help Leaks? 

The answer is absolutely! Pelvic Floor exercises which are also known as Kegel exercises can significantly improve your pelvic muscles and reduce leakage while also helping support your pelvic organs, sexual health and preventing prolapse. Even better - once you master pelvic floor exercises you can do them anywhere; sitting, standing, even while waiting in the elevator to the MRT. Exercises especially help those with stress incontinence or urine leakage when you cough or sneeze, or apply pressure on your bladder. Stress incontinence affects up to 15% of women in Singapore and regular kegels can help you manage this much more effectively. 

Step 1: Identifying your pelvic floor muscles. The easiest way to do this is to try to stop your urine after 3 seconds of starting. By stopping your pee, you are specifically working on your pelvic floor muscles and learning how to strengthen them through contraction. These exercises should only be done with urine and never with faeces. One should also be mindful to only practice kegels while urinating to identify your pelvic floor muscles and not make a habit out of it! 

Step 2: Once you have identified your pelvic floor muscles, start exercising! To practice pelvic floor exercises imagine you are trying to suppress passing gas (fart) - that is the contraction of your pelvic floor muscles. Hold this contraction for a few seconds. 

Step 3: Once you have identified and contracted your pelvic floor muscles, it is equally important to learn to relax your pelvic floor muscles. To do this exhale while imagining ripples of water or melting chocolate, this is the relaxation component of a kegel. 

Step 4: Once you have identified your pelvic floor muscles, practiced contracting and relaxing your muscles, the last step is to practice, practice, practice! Aim for 3 sets of 10 repetitions a day and gradually increase this with time. 

And that’s how you strengthen your pelvic floor muscles! Once you master identifying, contracting and relaxing - you can practice kegels anywhere: while watching TV at home, while lying down, while standing and waiting in line - it’s so discreet and easy to do. And remember: Like with any exercise, the results of kegels will only compound with time - so keep practicing!

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