How do I do Kegel exercises to help urinary incontinence during menopause?

Pelvic exercises or Kegel exercises can help strengthen muscles that keep the urethra (a tube connected to the bladder that allows urine to pass from the body) tightly closed. Just a few weeks of doing Kegel exercises for five minutes three times a day will start to help urinary incontinence.
Shelley C. Giebel, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)
Urinary leakage can occur when someone laughs, lifts or jumps. This type is called stress urinary incontinence. Stress incontinence can occur when the bladder and pelvic organs shift position. "Falling" of the organs happens most often after vaginal births. Medicines usually do not help this type of urinary incontinence.

Urinary incontinence can also happen with you have an urge to urinate, and then you leak. The urge to urinate occurs even if the bladder isn't completely full.  This type of incontinence can occur when the bladder muscle contracts when it shouldn't. Medications can sometimes help this type of urinary incontinence. 

Both types of incontinence can occur more often in the menopause because the thinning of vaginal tissues provide less support and protection against leakage. 
Dr. Darria Long Gillespie, MD
Emergency Medicine
Problems with bladder control are a very common issue in menopause. A big reason is the decline in the level of the hormone estrogen, which contributes to the health of the bladder and urethra, as well as the strength of the muscles that control them.

When the bladder is functioning normally, muscles contract when you want to urinate. In urge incontinence, those same muscle sometimes contract when you DON’T want them to, causing leaks.

If you’ve just started to have these symptoms, talk with your doctor. It’s important to rule out causes such as an infection or even an effect of a medication you’re taking. Once that’s ruled out, your doctor can guide you through the various therapies available, ranging from exercises to small lifestyle changes to, if necessary, medications.
Jill Rabin
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)
Menopause is a leading cause of incontinence. Estrogen levels drop during menopause, the muscles and tissues in the pelvis lose strength and support due to lower levels of collagen (a supporting protein in the skin), and organs prolapse (sag), which for many women causes incontinence. Low estrogen levels may also result in atrophy (a thinning out of tissues of the body, or type of tissue wasting) which causes the walls of the vagina and bladder to become inflamed and easily damaged. This may cause pelvic soreness and itching. In addition, the urethra may become irritated, which may lead to increased urinary frequency and urinary tract infections.
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Urinary incontinence is a lack of bladder control. This can be a problem for menopausal women because when periods stop, ovaries stop producing estrogen. This female hormone helps keep the bladder healthy. Also, when women get older, the pelvic muscles get weaker. These muscles keep the bladder function under control. With age and weaker pelvic muscles, bladder control can become a problem.
Mirabai Holland
Physiology

Contract, and lift your internal vaginal muscles much the same way as you would do to control the flow of urine, only stronger. Contract, hold and release. Repeat up to 20 times.

Now try some faster contractions like contract, release, contract, release Also, try holding the contraction for 10 counts and let go.

Repeat a few times.

 

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Medicine

Kegel exercises are done by simply relaxing lower pelvic muscles and then tightening them for 10 seconds. Do 10 at a time, 3 times a day. The tightening of these lower pelvic muscles can help with menopausal bladder control issues.