Kegel exercises strengthen your pelvic floor musculature supporting the uterus, bladder, small intestine, and rectum. Pelvic floor muscle weakness can occur due to pregnancy, childbirth, aging, surgery, chronic cough, constipation and/or obesity.
It is not necessary that Kegel exercises can be done only after pelvic floor weakness after one of these conditions, but can be done anytime.
Signs of Pelvic Floor Muscle Weakness
You may be in need to start Kegel exercises if you observe one or more of these:
- Few drops of urine leaking with sneezing, coughing, laughing or with any stress (stress incontinence)
- Leaking Stool (fecal incontinence)
- Having a sudden strong urge of urination, and losing control (urinary incontinence)
Kegel exercises can be done during or after pregnancy to prevent stress, fecal and/or urinary incontinence. If the condition is severe, or in the case of overflow incontinence (leaking of urine due to full bladder), Kegel exercises are not/less helpful.
How to perform Kegel Exercises
To perform Kegel exercises in the correct way, you need to identify your pelvic floor muscles you need to work on.
- Identifying the right muscles is the first step to be performed. Identifying of pelvic floor muscles is not a difficult task. All you need to do is try and stop urination in midstream. If you succeed, you now know the muscles you need to work up on.
- Practice the technique for perfection. Contract the pelvic floor muscles, and hold for five seconds. Now relax for five seconds. Repeat these steps at least five times in a row. Once you are able to do so without any problem, increase the duration for holding contraction to 10 seconds at a time, with 10 seconds of relaxation time.
- The key to getting the best results from Kegel exercises is to focus on contracting only the identified pelvic floor muscles, and not the abdominal, hip, groin, or thigh muscles. If you contract muscles other the pelvic floor muscles, optimal usage and strengthening will not happen.
- Frequency: Practice Kegel exercises at least 3 times a day, with 10 repetitions each.
Remember not to do Kegel exercises at the start and/or end of urination, as that may lead to incomplete emptying, further leading to urinary tract infection.
Kegel exercises can be done in any position, however, in the beginning, the most comfortable position is lying down position.
Ask for Help
There is no reason for embarrassment even if you are not being able to do Kegel exercises, consult your medical provider, who can then teach the method of isolating pelvic floor exercises.
Also, in case you are having trouble, another method of doing Kegel exercises is inserting a vaginal cone inside the vagina and contracting the muscles to hold the cone in place.
Time taken for pelvic floor muscle strengthening
If Kegel exercises are done sincerely on a daily basis, results such as reduced leakage can be observed within a few weeks to months. To keep benefiting from Kegel exercises, make it a part of your daily routine.