Sex, Exercise, and Stress Incontinence
Workouts and romance may both trigger 'accidents,' but stress incontinence treatments can bring relief.
Kegels Can Help Stress Incontinence continued...
The beauty of Kegels, most experts find, is that they can be done anytime
and just about anywhere -- sitting in your car or at your desk or watching
television or while talking on the phone. No one will know what you are doing
unless you tell them. But to ensure proper form, ask your doctor or nurse to
describe to you exactly how to do them correctly.
If you do Kegels correctly and often, you can expect to leak less, Rosenman
Typically, bladder control improves after 6 to 12 weeks of daily Kegels,
according to the AAFP. But you may notice improvement in stress incontinence
after just a few weeks.
Kegels and Vaginal Weights for Stress Incontinence
Another way to prevent stress incontinence is to use vaginal weights.
Vaginal weights can help you to isolate the pelvic floor muscles while doing
your Kegel exercises. They come in various sizes and are inserted into the
vagina using a cone. As you progress, you insert heavier weights.
Vaginal weight kits are sold online and over the counter.
Biofeedback for Stress Incontinence
Biofeedback, as the name implies, uses monitors and "feeds back"
information to patients about body processes, including control of the pelvic
In one study of 14 women with stress incontinence, a 12-week program of
pelvic floor training with biofeedback gave favorable results, according to a
report published in the International Brazilian Journal of Urology.
The number of leakage episodes decreased from about eight a day to 2.5 among
study participants, the researchers report.
Self-Help Products for Stress Incontinence
If your stress incontinence is not severe, you may get by with urinary incontinence
products such as pads and panty liners. You might want to consider
rubberized bed sheets.
Another stress incontinence treatment option is a device called a pessary,
which is inserted into the vagina to help elevate the bladder neck and keep
urine from leaking.
Medications, Surgery for Stress Incontinence
If your stress incontinence becomes more severe or if it interferes with
your lifestyle and kegel exercises and other self-help measures fail, your
doctor may suggest medications or surgery.
Medications can help tighten muscles at the bladder neck and urethra,
preventing urine from leaking and relieving stress incontinence.
In one operation for stress incontinence, surgical threads are used to help
support the bladder neck. In another procedure, called a "sling"
operation, the surgeon uses strips of material, either natural or synthetic
tissue, to support the bladder neck.
Talking to Your Doctor About Stress Incontinence
Your doctor should routinely ask you about your bladder function to
determine if you are having stress incontinence or urge incontinence (also
called overactive bladder), Rosenman says.
If your doctor does not ask, Rosenman advocates the straightforward
approach. Try something like: "I'm having some problems with my
bladder." At that point, if your doctor does not pepper you with questions
about how often you experience symptoms, and how long it has been going on,
Rosenman suggests asking for a referral to another doctor or to a specialist,
such as a urogynecologist. A urogynecologist is a gynecologist who has extra
training in urology.