Once you have located your pelvic floor muscles and you are able to squeeze them without using your other, stronger muscles, you are ready to begin your daily exercise program.
The reason for daily exercise is twofold:
- Exercise increases the strength of your pelvic floor muscles so that they will be strong enough to prevent urine leakage.
- Through repeated practice you gain control over these muscles. Then you can use them quickly to prevent urine loss or to decrease the urge feeling.
Each exercise consists of squeezing and then relaxing your pelvic floor muscles. Squeeze the muscles for 3 seconds and then relax the muscles for 3 seconds. It is common for most people not to take the time to relax between squeezes. You must allow the muscles to relax between squeezes so that they can rest before squeezing again.
Using Your Pelvic Muscles to Control the "Urge"
Many people think that the only way to relieve the uncomfortable sudden feeling of urgency is to empty the bladder, but this is not so. Urges can come and go without you emptying the bladder. They are simply messages telling you that eventually you will need to urinate. In someone with overactive bladder, the urges are often false messages that you need to go now. Urges, however, should not be commands. They should function as an early warning system, getting you ready to find a place to urinate----after you have relaxed and suppressed the urge.
To reduce or eliminate the urge to urinate, you will use your pelvic floor muscles. Remember to squeeze your pelvic floor muscles quickly several times when you get the urge feeling. To do this, tighten/squeeze and relax the pelvic muscle as rapidly as possible. Do not relax fully in between squeezes. Try this now. Squeezing your pelvic floor muscles in this way sends a message to your nervous system and back to your bladder to stop contracting. As your bladder stops contracting and starts relaxing, the urge feeling will subside. Then, once the urge to urinate has subsided, you have a safe period when the bladder is calm. This "calm period" is the best time to go to the bathroom.
These Exercises Cannot Harm You
These exercises are not harmful. You should find them easy and relaxing. If you get back pain or stomach pain after you exercise, you are probably trying too hard and using your stomach muscles. If you experience headaches, then you are also tensing your chest muscles and probably holding your breath. We do not recommend practicing these exercises during urination by starting and stopping the flow of urine.