The Recipe for Success: how to manage and track your pelvic floor plan to maximize progress
Once you’ve decided to regain control over your bladder, it’s time to put a plan in place to help you stay committed to the process until you’ve reached your goals. Part of a successful plan is tracking your work to make correlations between your exercise and your intake/output. It’s important to chart your progress everyday. Your success depends on how faithfully you track this information.
First things first, you need to understand how your intake impacts your output. The Fluid Intake & Voiding Diary keeps track of how much you drink and how frequently you urinate and leak to reveal the extent of the problem and monitor progress. Record the following items to get started and download the Fluid Intake & Voiding Diary for a formatted template to help you keep clean records.
• Date: each day begins at midnight.
• Drinking: record what you drank, how much and when you drank it.
• Bathroom visits: record each visit (make a special note of when you woke up from sleeping to use the bathroom).
• Leaks: record all leaks and describe them (small or large). Also note what you were doing when it happened.
• Protection: record the times you changed pads throughout the day and degree of saturation.
Set goals for yourself and see if your can modify these patterns with consistent exercise. You should aim to urinate five to eight times a day (including zero to one time at night), and drink six to eight eight-ounce glasses of non-irritating fluid throughout the day.
Get Ready to Sweat!
Well, maybe you won’t sweat, but if you’re doing kegels properly, you will get tired! Exercise is a critical part of the program. Creating a progressive plan allows you to set reasonable goals that will show real results. Because we’re not flexing our pelvic floor muscles in the mirror at the gym, it can be hard to “see” your progress. By logging your exercise and fluid intake/output, you will see, and – more importantly – feel the difference!
The Exercise Log will help ensure that you stick with a progressive plan, setting new strength goals with each week. Follow these three simple steps:
- Establish Baseline Strength
Start with long holds by contracting your pelvic floor muscles and holding as long by contracting your pelvic floor muscles as hard as you can, releasing and then contracting again. Record the number of quick flicks you can do in 15 seconds.
- Set Goals
Write your plan goals based on 50% of your baseline strength. Increase your reps and duration each week.
- Review Your Progress
Refer to your diary and exercise log each week to find correlations between your strengthening and bladder control, and revel in your progress!
The combination of tracking your fluids, output and exercise will uncover patterns of incontinence to help you manage the problem and demonstrate your progress. You may discover that certain activities consistently trigger leakage and you can use pelvic floor contractions during those activities to avoid leaking. But best of all, you’ll see the magic of kegels as your efforts directly correlate to fewer accidents and leaks!