Why Kegels Aren’t the Only Thing to Help Urinary Incontinence: Intra-Abdominal Pressure

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.

​The third topic to discuss is that you may have difficulties with maintaining appropriate pressures in your abdomen during functional tasks. What the hell does that even mean?? Well, think of your abdomen as a piston and when you move, the piston moves accordingly. Sometimes, the piston can’t handle the pressure associated with the movement and the system becomes less efficient. Have you ever seen those stress balls that look like animals and when you squeeze the stress ball the eyes pop out?? It’s like that.

​Here are a few techniques to help keep pressures under control:

  • Practicing diaphragmatic breathing is a good place to start
  • Breathing while performing tasks throughout the day… you would think this would be easy but we all need a reminder not to hold our breath!
  • Perform pelvic organ decompression