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After childbirth, many women have problems with urinary incontinence. In fact, as many as one in three women will experience leakage when sneezing, coughing, or laughing after they have given birth. The problem is embarrassing for many women because it causes a change in their lifestyle, but fortunately there are solutions to the problem. One of the easiest – and the most common – solutions is Kegel exercises, which strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and give you more control over your incontinence.
When women decide to add something such as vaginal weights to the routine, it becomes even more effective because the muscles are working harder so that the weights do not fall out. Although some women feel a little uncomfortable with the thought of these weights being inside of them, the truth is that they are very comfortable and completely pain free. They also work wonders with the effectiveness of the Kegel exercises, and they are easy to learn to use as well.
Also called involuntary urination, urinary incontinence is the leakage of urine during certain situations, of which you have no control. You can leak urine of varying amounts at any time, which is the reason this condition can seriously cramp your lifestyle. There are also many types of urinary incontinence, including the following.
This type of incontinence is caused from certain conditions, which can be either physical or mental. These conditions can include everything from arthritis to dementia, and because you are unable to get to the bathroom on time, you can leak urine in either small or large amounts.
If you cannot completely empty your bladder, it may be a sign that you have overflow incontinence. With this condition, you may have the unpleasant side effect of dribbling urine, but unfortunately this is not something to be taken lightly. If you are unable to empty your bladder, it is possible for you to get an infection, which means you should see a doctor if you suffer with this condition.
Causes of overflow incontinence include constipation, some medications, weak bladder muscles, nerve damage, and conditions such as tumors or an enlarged prostate, both of which can block the flow of urine.
Stress incontinence is a very common type, and it occurs specifically due to weakened pelvic floor muscles. It can happen in both women and men (yes, men have pelvic floor muscles, too) and occurs because actions such as exercising, laughing, and sneezing put pressure on your bladder.
For women, stress incontinence is caused by childbirth, pregnancy, being overweight, and even taking certain medications. In men, stress incontinence can be caused by obesity, certain medications, and some types of prostate surgery.
If you feel an urgent need to go to the bathroom and sometimes don’t get there in time, this is known as urge incontinence. Also known as overactive bladder, or OAB, it can be caused by diseases such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and even Parkinson’s disease, as well as damage to the nervous system, certain muscles, and of course, the bladder itself. Even certain medications and infections can cause OAB, and a trip to the doctor’s office is something you’ll want to do quickly if you have this condition.
It is also possible for someone to experience more than one type of incontinence at a time. For instance, women often have both urge incontinence and stress incontinence. Regardless of the type, however, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, particularly if they have had a negative effect on your lifestyle, it is highly recommended that you see a doctor. Only a doctor will be able to determine what is causing your incontinence, and more importantly, what you can do about it.
Most people know that urinary incontinence can be the result of pregnancy, childbirth, and certain medications, but there are also other causes, including:
Changes in the body due to some surgeries
Being overweight or inactive
Weakened pelvic floor muscles, either before or after menopause
There are also several remedies for reducing or even eliminating urinary incontinence in both men and women, and this includes:
Kegel exercises, which are performed to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles
Injections that are intended to bulk up your urethral area to help with incontinence
Timed voiding, in which you keep a chart of when you urinate so that you can retrain your bladder
Prescription medications, which is particularly helpful with urge incontinence
Catheters, which make sure that the bladder is emptied completely
Various surgeries, including one that repositions the bladder to relieve pressure and, therefore, leakage
As you can see, your options are not exactly limited when you’re suffering with urinary incontinence, and the right physician will be able to determine which of these methods will be most successful in your situation.
Of course, since many people are reluctant to choose surgery or medications, in part because they want a more natural approach to relieving their incontinence, there are other methods that are just as effective, if not more so. One of the most effective methods is the Kegel exercises, which both men and women can do. Essentially, you perform a squeeze-and-lift action with your pelvic muscles, and you build up to a certain number of repetitions each day.
The best part about Kegels is that you can do them anywhere, even if you’re dining out or at the mall shopping. They are simple, painless, and extremely effective, and for women, adding vaginal weights to the routine only increases the effectiveness of the exercises.
Although the official studies have shown mixed results, most of the larger studies show that Kegel exercises are much more effective, and produce faster results, when performed using vaginal weights. In addition, most women claim that they feel their Kegel exercises are much more productive when they use vaginal weights while performing them.
Although the use of vaginal weights while performing Kegel exercises seems to be effective for all types of incontinence, it is especially useful when suffering with stress incontinence, since this type of incontinence is associated with weak pelvic floor muscles. Kegel exercises strengthen those muscles and, therefore, they can eliminate incontinence altogether in many situations. If you’re interested in a treatment plan that doesn’t involve surgery or medications, Kegel exercises, along with vaginal weights, may work perfectly for you.
The way it works is simple. Vaginal weight products are usually cone shaped and come in various sizes. The weights themselves are placed inside of a capsule of some sort which, again, is usually either cone shaped or round. There are different shapes and sizes, as well as different weights that start out light and get heavier so you can move up to the next model as you progress.
It is always recommended that you start out small and light, then build up to the larger and heavier weights. If you start out light and find you can stand and walk around without the weights falling out, you may need a heavier size. As a general rule, however, if you’ve never before used vaginal weights, it is recommended that you start with the smallest and the lightest model available.
To get started, it is important to remember that vaginal weights need to be cleaned thoroughly both before and after they are used – every time you use them. Most can be cleaned with mild soap and water, although it is a good idea to read the directions on the packaging the weights come in, as there may be other instructions you need to know about.
To insert the weights, simply lie down in a comfortable spot and relax. If you feel a little tense, you can add some water-based lubricant to the weights first, then gently insert them into the vagina. If you’re using a set of two weights, you can insert one or both of them depending on your comfort level. Start by squeezing your pelvic muscles and try to keep the balls inside the vagina.
You should be lying down for a while, because you should only stand up when you feel the balls are comfortably inserted. If you stand up and the balls fall out, this simply means you need the Kegel exercises even more than you thought. If you stand up and feel comfortable holding the weights in, it likely means you need a heavier set of weights.
When performing your Kegel exercises using vaginal weights, one of the most important things to remember is to start out slow. You cannot start out performing 10 or 20 repetitions on the first day. Instead, start out with five repetitions, then stop for the day. Your goal is to increase slowly until you get up to roughly 20 repetitions three times a day.