1. First off, if you are leaking, but haven’t been doing your kegels (or pelvic floor exercises) then get started. Next time you go to the toilet stop the flow of wee mid flow – these are the muscles you need to be lifting. Don’t practice these on the toilet regularly though as that can lead to bladder infections. Once you’ve located those muscles, practice lifting them a few times slowly and a few times quickly and build up to doing that a few times a day. However, if you have been doing loads of them to no effect, stop for a while and focus on the other steps.
2. Learn to relax the pelvic floor and core muscles, as some of us have a tendency to hold on with those muscles which means the pelvic floor becomes tight which can also lead to leaking. Do this at a quiet time during the day and concentrate on relaxing on the in breath – try not to push down at all though.
3. Learn to breathe properly, as if you tend to breathe into your tummy or into the top of your chest, you can increase the pressure on the pelvic floor. Instead, think about breathing into the sides and back of the ribs – you can put your hands on the ribs to check.
4. Avoid jumping, heavy lifting (including weights) and running for a while as all of that will increase pressure on the pelvic floor – it certainly won’t improve the situation and could make it worse or undo any of the good work you’re doing. Try not to go back to any of this until you’ve made some progress with eliminating the leaking.
Of course, every person is an individual and, ultimately, different strategies may work better for different people.
So, if you’re at all unsure or feel like you’ve doing all the right things to little effect, seek the help of a professional. A women’s health physiotherapist is a great start as they can get to the root of the problem and give you strategies which will work for you. And, obviously, a personal trainer with a knowledge of dealing with issues like this can help you to implement those strategies and start to train your pelvic floor to function well day to day.