Kegel or pelvic floor muscle exercises are done to strengthen the muscles which support the urethra, bladder, uterus and rectum.
Why Do Kegel Exercises?
Often the pelvic floor muscles are weak which contributes to problems with losing urine. Doing the exercises correctly and regularly with resistance can strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. Stronger muscles lead to little or no urine loss for many women.
Doctors often prescribe Kegel exercises for:
- Stress incontinence - loss of urine when you exert pressure (stress) on your bladder by coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercising or lifting heavy objects.
- Urge incontinence - a need to urinate that is so strong that you cannot reach the toilet in time.
- Pelvic floor weakness due to childbirth. During pregnancy and delivery, the pelvic floor can become stretched and weakened, commonly causing urine control problems for months to years after childbirth. A weakened pelvic floor can also allow one or more pelvic organs to sag (pelvic relaxation). If you are pregnant, start doing daily Kegels, and continue them after having your baby.
How to do Kegel exercises
Kegel exercises are easy to do and can be done anywhere without anyone knowing.
- First, as you are sitting or lying down, try to contract the muscles you would use to hold something in the vagina. You should feel your pelvic muscles squeezing your urethra and anus. If your stomach or buttocks muscles tighten, you are not exercising the right muscles.
- When you've found the right way to contract the pelvic muscles, squeeze for 3 seconds and then relax for 3 seconds.
- Repeat this exercise 10 to 15 times each session. Try to do this at least 3 times a day.
Kegel exercises are most effective when done regularly.