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Take back control of your bladder, your life

Bladder weakness can be embarrassing and bothersome, but it is not a life sentence. Of the 16-million American women experiencing light bladder weakness, many find relief through simple exercises and a commitment to healthy living. Poise® offers a variety of absorbent liners and pads to help women manage little bladder leaks.

Kegel exercises are the easiest and most discreet way that women regain bladder control. Developed by OB/GYN Dr. Arthur Kegel, the exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles which support the urethra, bladder and vagina. Kegel’s can be done anywhere, anytime — and the benefits aren’t limited to bladder control problems. Strengthened pelvic floor muscles also promote sexual arousal and pleasure for you and your partner both. Talk about getting the most out of your workout! The target area for Kegels is called the pubococcygeus, or PC, and it can be tricky to find. While urinating, try to slow or stop the flow without using the muscles in your abdomen, buttocks, or legs. Concentrate on tightening the muscles around the opening of the vagina, pulling inward and upward. When the flow of urine stops, take note of what muscles are working and what they feel like in their tightened state. To be sure you are hitting the target area, practice Kegel exercises in front of a mirror, with a hand placed on your abdomen and buttocks. You should not see or feel any muscles tightening besides the PC muscles. As with any workout, consistency is the key to success with Kegels. Make Kegel exercises an important part of your routine, tightening and relaxing PC muscles repeatedly three or four times daily. Start by squeezing PC muscles slowly and hold for a count of four. Then slowly relax the area for another count of four. Do 10 sets. Add variety by quickly contracting and relaxing PC muscles for 30 seconds in between sets. To improve PC muscle strength, you need to do 100-200 Kegels each day. Yoga and pilates are also effective tools in increasing bladder control, especially for women finding it difficult to find and target PC muscles. As core muscle groups in the abdomen and pelvic area are strengthened, bladder control is increased.  The added bonus that yoga and Pilates offer is the mind-body connection that these regimens offer through meditation and focused breathing and movement. Doctors say that weight loss and a healthy, balanced diet can also counter light bladder weakness. Excessive weight puts added pressure on the bladder and limits an active lifestyle; doctors say that a 5 to 10 percent weight loss in overweight women can help regain bladder control and promote overall body wellness. Sponsored by: Poise®

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