Imagine this: You’re on a road trip with your friends and your bladder keeps nagging you to make pee-stops every hour. Your gang is tired of stopping so frequently, so they ask you to hold it. But, you can’t…
Sounds familiar? If you’re nodding your head, then let us tell you that you’ve only got your weak pelvic muscles to blame. And while you can ignore a few incidences, if your urge to pee is so strong that it leads to urine leakage, then you’ve got a problem on your hands. You might be suffering from urinary incontinence.
What is urinary incontinence?
In simple words, urinary incontinence means the involuntary leakage of urine. Basically, while urinating your bladder muscles tighten to dispel pee through the urethra. Muscles around the urethra relax to allow urine to pass. But when you have urinary incontinence, your bladder muscles tighten involuntarily and your urethra muscles are not strong enough to tighten to keep pee from coming out when you don’t want it to.
We know you must be thinking that this is an age-related problem. But FYI, urinary incontinence has nothing to do with your age, says Dr Swati Gaikwad, a gynaecologist at Motherhood Hospital in Pune.
She suggests that even in your 20s and 30s you can be a victim of urinary leakage–especially if you have been pregnant, have weak pelvic floor muscles, or are less active in your day to day life.
But why does it happen?
A study published in the journal Nature Reviews, Disease Primers has an answer to this. Sexual intercourse, pregnancy, childbirth, and obesity are a few causes of urinary continence–as all of them weaken your pelvic floor muscles.
But we don’t want that bladder of yours to control your life, now do we? So, to get your bladder right on track, it’s time to acquaint you with Kegel exercises.
What are Kegel exercises?
These exercises essentially strengthen your pelvic muscles. Pointing out their benefits, Dr Gaikwad says that apart from urinary incontinence, Kegel also aid sexual intercourse by helping with lubrication and reducing pain while penetration.
Women in their 20s and 30s must do these exercises so that they can avoid post-delivery strength loss of the pelvic muscles. In fact, doing these exercises can also make pregnancy and labour a less painful affair.
Now you wouldn’t want that, right? So, we’ve got these five kegel exercises for you that will revolutionize your sex life and give you control over your bladder again:
1. Bridge pose
This yoga pose is great for your glutes, core, and of course, your pelvic muscles. And it requires no equipment. You can repeat it three to five times and hold it as long as you can (according to your comfort level).
Haven’t we always told you that squats are bae? After all, they are great for your legs and can banish urinary incontinence as well.
In fact, a study published in the journal BMC Sports Science Medicine and Rehabilitation affirms that doing squats can also reduce the risk of an injury in the lower limbs by strengthening muscles.
This Kegel exercise focuses on your glutes and pelvic. Clamshell exercise is really helpful when it comes to balancing the muscular effort between your inner and outer thighs and your pelvic floor muscle. And a study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy backs this too.
4. Split tabletop
This exercise focuses on your abs, pelvic, and hips the most. We would recommend you to do this exercise on a mat as there is leg movement involved and we don’t want you to end up hurting your tailbone. Also, trying it during your period is not a great idea–so keep it for days when the red wedding is not your personal tragedy.
5. Jumping jacks
Jumping jacks are the simplest and the most effective exercise when it comes to weight loss and strengthening your pelvic muscles–who you would have thought right? To take it a notch higher you can lie down in plank position and then just move your legs sideways – just the way you do it in jumping jacks. And FYI, this variation will help you get rid of those love handles as well.
So, there you go ladies–it’s like killing two birds with one stone. Now try these uber cool Kegel exercises and get a hold of nature’s call at your convenience.