Why Kegels Aren’t the Only Thing to Help Urinary Incontinence: Constipation

Many times during an initial evaluation, a patient has told me that they have been doing kegels every day but they are still having leakage. I can only imagine how frustrating it would be to feel that something so simple as contracting your pelvic floor like a bicep curl every day wouldn’t be able to ‘fix’ a very sensitive problem. Sometimes it is just as simple as doing kegels, however, in our experience, there is much more going on than weakness in the pelvic floor that is causing urinary incontinence. This is part 5 of 6 discussing other reasons you could be having urinary leakage (for both men and women). 

​The fifth topic to look into is constipation. Constipation is more complicated than just how often you have a bowel movement. Constipation also entails the consistency of stool (hard versus soft), how difficult it is to get stool out, do you feel empty after having a bowel movement, and is there abdominal and/or pelvic pain. So how does constipation increase likelihood of urinary leakage? The main reason is due to the pressure that the rectum places on the bladder. Difficulties with stool elimination can also be a sign that your pelvic floor is hyper-active which makes it difficult to eliminate urine as well. Here are some ways to help improve bowel movement elimination:

  • Proper positioning on the toilet (use a squat position with a stool)
  • Deep breathing
  • Abdominal massage
  • Pelvic floor relaxation stretches
  • Keeping a routine
  • Drinking warm liquid
  • Reducing foods that increase gut permeability