Does a good, hard laugh make you pee just a little? Does a sneeze push your bladder over the edge? Dr. Northrup says that you can decrease the urinary stress incontinence causing these embarrassing slips by strengthening your pelvic floor muscles with Kegel exercises. "Kegel exercises are the exercises developed to strengthen the pubococcygeus muscle and to pull up the bladder—the bladder falls sometimes after you have a baby," Dr. Northrup says. "You can actually strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, the levator ani, the pubococcygeus, so strong that the bladder doesn't push down anymore and you don't lose urine."
If you don't think Kegel exercises work, Dr. Northrup stresses that it is important to make sure you are doing the exercises correctly. "I'd go to a physical therapist who specializes on the pelvic floor because a lot of women do not know how to do them properly—and if you do them properly—they're very, very effective," she says.
"The other thing that works, before aerobics or anything where you're going to be jumping up and down, you can put a tampon in your vagina and that will hold the bladder up at the right angle so you won't leak," Dr. Northrup says.