From Biofeedback to Kegel Exercises: Options to Manage Urinary Incontinence

Effective treatment options exist for women with urinary incontinence that does not involve medication or surgery, according to new guidelines from the American College of Physicians. Exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and biofeedback therapy are two such options that could help.

 Non-Surgical Options for Bladder Control:

Option #1: Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises
Training the muscles of the pelvic floor can be an effective way to minimize or prevent urine leakage. They can be strengthened, and training costs nothing and has no side effects, so you may wish to try this before starting other treatment methods.

Young female athletes, moms-to-be and even senior women can all experience weak pelvic muscles. The pelvic floor muscles help you hold your urine, so as the muscles weaken, you may leak urine due to certain actions and everyday lifestyle factors.

If you experience stress incontinence, there may be a chance that it can be helped with pelvic floor exercises. Pelvic floor exercises are also useful to prevent incontinence, particularly for women who have had children. By practicing at least three times a day, exercises can help you strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and give you more control when you need it.

Learn more about how to strengthen your pelvic muscles by watching this information video from Ways & How: How To Do Kegel Exercises For Bladder Control

Option #2: Biofeedback Therapy
First, a basic definition of biofeedback or EMG (electromyographic study of muscle and nerves) is a method of displaying information about what is going on in the body. This is a type of urinary incontinence treatment where patients are trained to improve their health by using signals from their own bodies. Here are a few key points:

  • Biofeedback is a group of therapeutic procedures that utilize electronic or mechanical instruments to accurately measure, process, and provide ‘feedback’ about neuromuscular and other body activities.
  • Biofeedback therapy has been used for the past thirty years and is widely used to treat many medical problems such as headaches, pain, or high blood pressure.
  • Biofeedback has been used successfully to treat muscle dysfunction and is often used in behavioral therapy for the treatment of urinary incontinence (UI). 

The goal of biofeedback therapy in the treatment of urinary incontinence is to modify a person’s behavior and train them in methods to help regain bladder control. Persons are taught to alter physiologic responses of the bladder and pelvic muscles that are involved in urine loss. New skills are learned for maintaining continence or to assist in relearning previous control behaviors. Biofeedback therapy is a vital component of any behavioral program which deals with restoration of pelvic muscle function.

Biofeedback treatment varies – based on several factors – and can involve multiple sessions under the supervision of a physician or specialized nurse. To learn more about biofeedback and find out if it’s right for you, contact a UCA office today for a consultation.