I’m nearly 40 now and have experienced in many occasions small urine leakage at night and sometimes during the day.
I can recall that my mum used to have the same problem but this happened as she turned into her 70s. Do you think this problem could be hereditary?
I’ve never talked about this to anyone and not even with my close age friends because this is obviously such an embarrassment for me!
I don’t suffer from any psychological trauma or accident so at this stage, can we call this incontinence? If it is, I can’t see myself wearing nappies like children do so would pads be possibly the best discreet alternative?
I’ve tried a couple of things such as not drinking at night – what else do you recommend?
Yes, it is likely your mum was recommended pelvic floor exercises. Exercising the pelvic floor muscles helps to strengthen the muscles and reduce incontinence symptoms.
There is more than one way you can exercise the pelvic floor muscles depending on what feels the most comfortable for you. Here are some methods you can try:
1. Kegel Exercises
During Kegels, you contract and relax your pelvic floor muscles. Kegels are particularly useful if you experiencing stress incontinence during the day, which is leaking urine during activities such as laughing, jumping, or coughing.
You should try the following steps to practice Kegel exercises:
- Identify the right muscles. You can stop urination midstream to do this.
- Once you have found these muscles, you should contract these muscles and hold for 5 seconds. Release for 5 seconds.
- Repeat this exercise 10 times, 3 times a day for maximum impact.
Squats engage the largest muscles in the body and are very effective in improving the strength of the pelvic floor muscles.
Here are the steps neccessary to do this exercise:
- Stand in an upright position with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and toes slightly pointed out.
- Bend your knees and push your hips and butt back as if you’re going to sit in a chair. Keep your chin tucked and neck neutral.
- Gradually drop further down until your thighs are parallel to the ground, whilst keeping your weight in your heels and knees bowed slightly outward.
- Straighten your legs and return to an upright position.
3. Split Tabletop
The Split Tabletop is a leg exercise that acts as the foundation of many moves in a Pilates workout. Practising this exercise activates and strengthens your hips and pelvic floor muscles.
Follow these steps to practice this exercise:
- Begin the exercise with your back on the floor and knees bent so your thighs are perpendicular to the floor and your shins are parallel to the floor.
- Your abs should be braced and your inner thighs should be activated, with your legs touching.
- Next, begin to slowly split your legs so each knee falls outward, reaching a comfortable position.
- Slowly raise back to the start.
- Complete 10 to 15 reps and 3 sets.
This exercise is less commonly known, however when done correctly, it is highly effective in activating the pelvic floor muscles in the process.
Simply follow these 5 stages to do the exercise effectively:
- Lie on the floor. Ensure your spine is on the ground, with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle and your arms straight at your sides with palms facing down.
- Inhale and push through your heels, raising your hips off the ground by squeezing your glutes, hamstrings, and pelvic floor. Your body, resting on your upper back and shoulders, should form a straight line down from the knees.
- Pause in this position for 1-2 seconds at the top and return to the starting position.
- Complete 10-15 reps and 2-3 sets, resting 30 to 60 seconds between sets.
It is a good idea to try all of these and decide which exercise you prefer.
Good luck with these and feel free to ask for any further advice!