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Treating Incontinence in Women: Lifestyle Changes & Kegels

The best treatment for you will depend on the type of incontinence you have. Your symptoms, age, and any underlying problems that are found also affect your treatment.

Image of women

How Lifestyle Changes May Help

  • Quitting smoking. Smoking can lead to a chronic cough that strains pelvic floor muscles. Smoking may also damage the bladder and urethra.

  • Losing weight. Excess weight puts extra pressure on the pelvic floor muscles. Exercising and eating right can help you lose weight. This helps other treatments work better.

  • Making certain diet changes. Some foods may make you need to urinate more, so it may be good to avoid them. These include caffeinated drinks and alcohol. Ask your doctor whether these or other diet changes might be helpful.

Images of strong and weak pelvic floors

How Kegel Exercises Can Help

Kegel exercises help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic floor muscles act as a sling to help hold the bladder and urethra in place. These muscles also help keep the urethra closed. Weak pelvic floor muscles may allow urine to leak. To strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, do Kegel exercises daily. In a few months, the muscles will be stronger and tighter. This can help prevent urine leakage.

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