For women, Kegel or pelvic floor exercises can reduce leaks in just 2 to 4 months and may even eliminate them within a year*. They’re simple to do, and because no one can tell when you’re doing them, you can shape up your muscles anywhere, at any time (and guess what guys, there are Kegel exercises for men too!). Here’s how can get started doing Kegel exercises.
Step 1: Find your pelvic floor muscles
While going to the restroom, try to pause during urinating. If you are able to stop and then start again, congratulations, you’ve successfully contracted your pelvic floor muscles and completed your first Kegel exercise. If not, try this:
- When contracting these muscles, it should feel like a lift and squeeze, as though you’re drawing or squeezing your navel toward your spine.
- You should not be tensing your buttocks
- If you are unable to feel these muscles contract, or can’t stop while urinating, consult your healthcare professional.
Step 2: How to Perform Kegel Exercises
Once you’ve found your pelvic floor muscles, follow these steps for performing Kegel exercises:
- Start by holding your pelvic floor muscles contracted for a second or two. Repeat as often as you can, up to 10 times a few times per day.
- Gradually build up to 10 seconds, resting 10 seconds between muscle contractions. Repeat as often as you can up to 10 times, several times per day.
- Try alternating positions, such as sitting, standing or lying down.
- In addition to your regular exercise routine, you can also squeeze your pelvic muscles any time you do something that causes leaks, such as laughing, coughing or bending.
- Continue your exercises daily for a minimum of 6 months
Step 3: What to Expect
You should notice a reduction in leaks within 2 to 4 months of starting your Kegel exercises. Remember to keep exercising for at least 6 months to build up your strength. If after 6 months you have your incontinence under control, you can reduce your Kegel exercise frequency.
Urge incontinence? Try bladder retraining.
In addition to doing Kegel exercises, you can reduce urge incontinence by retraining your bladder. Simply hold off going to the bathroom for as long as possible. While you may feel slightly uncomfortable at first, you’ll find it gets easier over time. This will help reduce the number of times you feel the urge to go. We recommend keeping a bladder diary, which will provide your healthcare professional with useful information if needed.
Up to 60% of women who trained intensively successfully minimized or even eliminated bladder leakage completely after one year
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