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Bladder emptying exercises practice completely emptying your bladder when it is time to use the bathroom. Incomplete bladder emptying is also called urinary retention and occurs when the muscles that control the flow of urine are unable to direct when to empty the bladder. This can be the result of nerve damage or weak muscles. Urinary retention leads to urine backing up toward the kidneys; or it can cause a bladder infection. You can practice some exercises to promote emptying your bladder and reduce urinary retention

Kegel Exercises

Kegel exercises are a type of pelvic floor muscle exercise that work to strengthen the muscles that hold urine in the bladder. Because urinary retention can be caused by muscle weakness, Kegel exercises may be beneficial in reinforcing the work of these muscles. The National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse recommends that you practice Kegel exercises by tightening your pelvic floor muscles. Keep them contracted for three seconds and then release. Repeat this step 10 times, three times a day. Avoid contracting the muscles of the abdomen, buttocks or upper thighs during this process. Gradually increase the number of repetitions and the length of time you contract your muscles. You may see results of better bladder control within 3 to 6 weeks.

Bladder Training

Bladder training is a type of therapeutic exercise that works to practice holding your urine and then using the bathroom at scheduled times. Follow a schedule of urinating at intervals you have designated between you and your doctor. You can start in 15-minute increments and build up to lengthen the time between urination. When the scheduled time to use the bathroom comes, attempt to urinate even if you do not have the urge. If you feel the urge to urinate in between, try to hold your urine the required length of time. By practicing bladder training, you can retrain your bladder to empty when the sensation occurs. The University of California San Francisco states that you may see results of greater bladder control within 6 to 12 weeks.


A pessary is a type of device that is inserted into the vagina to support pelvic structures. It is often prescribed for patients who have a cystocele, which occurs when the bladder drops down into the vagina. You may have urinary incontinence or urinary retention with a cystocele. A pessary is inserted into the vagina; it can be worn for several days to weeks at a time, and your doctor can fit you with the right size. Once inserted, you may practice contracting the pelvic muscles around the device as a method of strengthening the muscles that hold urine. It is not necessary to use your pelvic muscles to keep the pessary in place, but a pessary provides an object in which to practice strengthening muscles.

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