Physical Therapy Kegels for Bladder Control that STOP BLADDER LEAKS (Video)

Kegels for bladder control video for women including beginners with stress incontinence or urge incontinence (bladder leakage). 

Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist Michelle Kenway guides you through:

  • Kegels technique to stop bladder leaks
  • 2 types of Kegels for bladder control
  • Best Positions for Kegels for bladder control
  • How to stop bladder leaks with stress and urge incontinence
  • Kegel mistakes to avoid with bladder leaks

Please scroll below this Kegels for bladder control video to read more information.

Kegels for Bladder Contol Video Time Stamps

2:05 Two key steps for bladder control exercises for women

5:58 Best positions for Kegels bladder control exercises

7:14 How to Kegel to stop bladder leaks

9:31 Kegels mistakes to avoid with incontinence

Pelvic Floor Exercises Daily Workout TRAINING

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Strengthen your pelvic floor with daily Kegel exercises.

This evidence-based pelvic floor training workout guides you step by step towards a strong well functioning pelvic floor. Presented by Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist Michelle Kenway

Contents

Track 1 – Introduction to Successful Strengthening

Track 2 – Finding your Pelvic Floor

Track 3 – Feeling your Pelvic Floor Muscles

Track 4 – Using the Correct Pelvic Floor Exercise Technique

Track 5 – Beginners Pelvic Floor Exercises Workout

Track 6 – Intermediate Pelvic Floor Exercises Workout

Track 7 – Progressing and Maintaining your Strength

Kegel for Bladder Control in Women

The correct muscles to train for bladder control are located at the base of the pelvis. These muscles are called the pelvic floor muscles because they sit at the base of the female pelvis.

Female pelvic floor muscles
Female Pelvic Floor Muscles

The female pelvic floor muscles (shown highlighted above) encircle the three pelvic openings; the urethra (urine tube), vagina and anus. When these muscles are strong and working well, they close the bladder opening and support the bladder to resist downwards forces and stop bladder leaks.2

Kegel exercises for strengthening the pelvic floor muscles are recommended as the first line of treatment for stress incontinence in women (i.e. bladder leaks with coughing or sneezing).1

Correct Technique Doing Kegels for Bladder Control

There are two key steps involved in contracting and training the pelvic floor muscles muscles correctly with Kegels for improving bladder control

Step 1

Squeeze around all three openings at once, vagina, urethra and anus as if closing them shut.

Step 2

Lift in and around your pelvic openings to move them inwards or up inside your body. The lifting part of this exercise is very important to stop bladder leaks.

Step 3

Relax the pelvic floor muscles back to resting. Try not to worry if you can’t feel these muscles relaxing when starting out, this usually becomes more noticeable as the pelvic floor muscles strengthen and control improves.

2 Types of Kegels for Bladder Control

There are 2 types of Kegel bladder control exercises to overcome bladder leakage.

Try to do both the long and short Kegel exercises for bladder control described below on at least 3 days of the week. You can improve pelvic floor muscle strength gains and bladder control by doing Kegel exercises more often than 3 days per week. Practicing your exercises daily if you’re a beginner will help you make greater, faster strength gains.

It can take up to 5-6 months of Kegels training to regain strength and bladder control with weak pelvic floor muscles.

1. Long Kegel Exercises

Long Kegel exercises train pelvic floor muscle endurance. 

Training long Kegels involves contracting the pelvic floor muscles by squeezing and lifting them for up to 10 seconds each time.

Repeat long Kegel exercises up to 10 times in a row, 3 times daily, ideally spread throughout the day.

2. Short Kegel Exercises

Short brisk Kegel exercises train pelvic floor muscle power.

Training short Kegel exercises involves contracting the pelvic floor muscles by squeezing and lifting with a brisk, fast squeeze and lift action for 1 second.

Repeat short fast Kegel exercises up to 10 times in a row, 3 times daily, ideally spread throughout the day.

Best Positions to do Kegels for Bladder Control

There are 3 main positions for doing Kegels for bladder control.

  • Lying down (i.e. side lying, prone or on the back with knees bent)
  • Sitting upright (i.e. chair, stool or exercise ball)
  • Standing

The best position for Kegels to stop bladder leaks is training standing upright because this is the position you’re most likely to experience bladder leakage. 

Beginners or women with weak pelvic floor muscles often find the best Kegeles position to start training is either lying down or sitting. Start out by using the Kegels training position where you can best feel your pelvic floor muscles contracting and relaxing and then progress from this position to upright positions as your pelvic floor muscles strengthen as shown below.

When doing Kegels in sitting, you’ll gain the most benefit by keeping a slight inward curve in your lower back throughout. Sit forward away from the chair rest, lean forward slightly and keep your chest raised. 

Kegels for bladder control positions sitting and standing
Kegels for bladder control positions

How to Stop Bladder Leaks with Stress Incontinence or Urge Incontinence

Active or functional Kegel training is one of the most important aspects of exercises for bladder control. This type of Kegels training involves practicing using your pelvic floor muscles in the real world situations when you are most likely to have bladder control problems.

Practicing in real world situations when bladder leaks are most likely to occur trains the pelvic floor muscles to work automatically. It’s just like training your pelvic floor muscles for the main event.

Kegels for Stress Incontinence

Kegels for stress incontinence (woman sneezing)

Many women experience bladder leakage with coughing and sneezing with stress urinary incontinence.

The key functional training technique to practice is called ‘The Knack’. This pelvic floor exercise technique involves contracting your pelvic floor muscles immediately before and during the activities that cause your stress incontinence for example coughing, sneezing or laughing.

Kegels for Bladder Urgency and Urge Incontinence

Bladder urgency and urge incontinence is a problem experienced by women of all ages. The bladder urge usually strikes suddenly as the bladder muscle (detrusor) contracts without warning.

Women often experience bladder urgency when getting in the shower or putting the key in the door. Practice repeated Kegel strong holds until urge dissipates. The urge will dissipate as the bladder muscle relaxes. It’s often helpful for beginners to practice this Kegels technique when the bladder is not completely full.

Kegels Mistakes to Avoid for Overcoming Bladder Leaks

There are some common Kegels mistakes to avoid for improving bladder control and stopping bladder leaks.

Bearing Down with Kegels

Women often mistakenly bear down through the pelvic floor rather than lifting inwards with Kegel exercises3. You may like to  trial sitting on a rolled towel to feel the inward movement of your pelvic floor with your Kegels or use a hand mirror to watch the inward movement of the area between your anus and vagina (perinueum).

Squeezing Buttocks and Thighs

When the pelvic floor muscles are weak, especially for beginners, some women contract their thighs and buttocks instead of their pelvic floor muscles during their Kegel exercises. Doing this gives the mistaken belief that the pelvic floor muscles are contracting when in fact they are not. Keep the thighs and buttocks relaxed during Kegel exercises and focus on the pelvic floor muscles between your sitting bones to improve  bladder control.

Breath Holding During Kegels

A common mistake when starting Kegels training is holding the breath during Kegel exercises. Try to breathe out with the start of the exercise and then resume normal breathing during long Kegels. It’s important that the pelvic floor muscles can withstand the pressure or normal breathing to overcome bladder leaks.

Abdominal Bracing with Kegels

Some women contract their upper ‘6 pack’ abdominal muscles strongly during Kegel exercises. This Kegels mistake works against the lifting action of a correct Kegel exercise. The lower (innermost) tummy muscles may contract and this is quite normal. Try to keep the upper abdominal muscles relaxed during Kegels for bladder control.

Kegels Constant Bracing 

Avoid the mistake of sustained or maintained Kegel exercises during exercise and general activity. Constantly bracing the pelvic floor muscles while walking or running is incorrect. Prolonged tensing these muscles can cause pelvic floor muscle weakness and tightness.

Practicing regular long and short Kegels for bladder control will strengthen and thicken your pelvic floor muscles to work to control bladder leaks during these activities. 

References

Pelvic Floor Muscles Female image

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:1116_Muscle_of_the_Female_Perineum.png

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f9/1116_Muscle_of_the_Female_Perineum.png

Openstax, CC BY 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

1. Dumoulin C, Cacciari LP, Hay‐Smith EJC. Pelvic floor muscle training versus no treatment, or inactive control treatments, for urinary incontinence in women. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2018, Issue 10. Art. No.: CD005654. 

2. Bø, K. (2004). Pelvic floor muscle training is effective in treatment of female stress urinary incontinence, but how does it work?. International Urogynecology Journal, 15(2), 76-84.

3. Miller J. (2002) Criteria for therapeutic use of pelvic floor muscle training in women,
Journal of WOCN, Volume 29, Issue 6, Pages 301-311,

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