What’s the purpose of Kegel exercises?
Pelvic floor exercises help to improve the tone and strength of the pelvic floor muscles, thus helping with pelvic organ support. This will decrease risk of pelvic relaxation, uterine descent, bladder descent, urinary incontinence, and helps to promote healing and comfort after pelvic surgery or childbirth.
How do I do the exercises?
- To get the feeling for these exercises, try stopping and starting the flow of urine while voiding and try to tighten your bottom as if you’re trying to hold back gas.
- This can be done in any position, but may be easier lying down (eliminates forces of gravity).
- Start by contracting the muscles surrounding the vagina with a “pulling up” feeling, then release the muscles and notice the relaxation. Repeat the exercise, contracting tightly, holding, and then releasing. Another variation is the “elevator.” Think about going up in an elevator. As you reach each floor, draw up the pelvic floor muscles a little more until you reach your maximum tension. Then descend, floor-by-floor, gradually relaxing the muscles until you reach the ground floor where there is no tension on the muscles. Then, while blowing out your breath through pursed lips, push the muscles down to the basement until it feels as if your pelvic floor is bulging. Then lift the muscles back to the ground floor level to complete the exercise.
- While performing the exercises, do not tighten your abdominal muscles and breathe normally.
How often should I do these exercises?
- Start off doing sets of 5. Hold each contraction for 5 seconds, then release. Repeat 5 times (that’s a set of 5). Try to do a total of 10 sets (or 50 total contractions) per day.
- Remember, nobody knows you’re doing these exercises, so you can do them anywhere. A few ideas: during TV commercials, while brushing your teeth, while waiting in line, while cooking, at stop light, during intercourse, while squatting or bending, while lifting/straining/laughing/climbing stairs/sneezing/coughing, while on the phone, and during any other routine part of your day. The more you do, the faster you’ll feel the results. Usually, you’ll see results in a few weeks.