Pelvic floor exercises
Pelvic floor exercises are proven to improve stress or mixed urinary incontinence in women by two-thirds, and can help men after surgery to remove the prostate gland.
They strengthen and tone the muscles that support the pelvic organs and are an essential part of improving incontinence and preventing it from worsening. Pelvic floor exercises do require commitment and regular practice, and learning the correct technique is also very important. Only 10-15% of patients who attend continence clinics and carry out the exercises have to be referred for surgery.
Being pregnant and giving birth can weaken the muscles that control the flow of urine from your bladder. Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles during pregnancy can help prevent urinary incontinence later in life.
If you can contract your pelvic floor muscles, you will be taught certain exercises involving muscle contractions to do at least three times a day for at least three months. If the exercises work for you they can be continued indefinitely.
If you find it difficult to locate your pelvic floor muscles or are unsure if you’re doing pelvic muscle exercises correctly, Biofeedback therapy can help you learn to control them properly.
Biofeedback therapy uses computer graphs and audible tones to show you the muscles you are exercising. It also allows your therapist to measure your muscle strength and tailor your exercise programme to suit you.
At Somerset Urology Associates our continence advisers and incontinence physiotherapists are particularly experienced at teaching pelvic floor exercises to strengthen muscles that have become weak due to damage and ageing.
Somerset Urology Associates can provide and monitor the use of vaginal cones, small weights that are inserted into the vagina to assist with pelvic floor muscle training. If you want to try using vaginal cones, speak to our specialist. Read more at Pelvic Floor
Surgery for Stress Incontinence
Most stress incontinence in women is due to the bladder sinking down toward the vagina. Surgery to correct this involves pulling the bladder up to a more normal position. Our surgeon will raise the bladder and secure it with a string attached to muscle, ligament or bone, or for severe cases of stress incontinence, secure the bladder with a wide mesh sling. This not only holds up the bladder but also compresses the bottom of the bladder and the top of the urethra.