Kegel exercises: A how-to guide for women

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Kegel exercises are invented to help prevent and control urinary incontinence plus other pelvic floor problems. Here are the steps in doing Kegel exercises correctly:

Kegel exercises

Kegel exercises are designed to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that support the reproductive systema and its neighbouring organs like the uterus, bladder, small intestine and rectum. Anybody can do these pelvic floor muscle training called Kegel exercises anytime.

Kegel exercises can do a lot of things for you and understanding these health benefits would get you more encouraged to do the exercises on a regular basis. Just follow these step-by-step instructions in doing the Kegel exercises to contract and relax your pelvic floor muscles.

Why Kegel exercises matter

Pregnancy, childbirth, surgery, aging and being overweight can weaken your pelvic floor muscles. So it is important for us women to take extra care of these areas of concern for a much better and healthy living.

You might benefit from doing Kegel exercises if you:

  • Experience leaks of urine when sneezing, laughing or coughing
  • Having sudden urges to urinate  when you could have felt the urge even before being too full to hold them up (urinary incontinence)
  • Does  have episodes of stool leaks (fecal incontinence)

Kegel exercises are proven safe to do during pregnancy or even after childbirth to try to prevent experiencing urinary incontinence. Together with counselling and sex therapy, Kegel exercises may also help women who have difficulty reaching orgasm.

Take note that Kegel exercises may be less beneficial for women who are already having severe urine leakages when they sneeze, laugh or cough.

Kegel exercises also aren’t helpful for women who experience unexpected leaking of small amounts of urine because of a full bladder (overflow incontinence) as this is scientifically normal.

How to do Kegel exercises

It takes some effort to feel and identify your pelvic floor muscles and to learn how to start doing Kegels as to contracting and relaxing them.

  • Find the right muscles:  To locate and identify your pelvic floor muscles, go to the bathroom and urinate. Try to stop urination in midstream. Once you’ve done this, you’ve succeeded in finding the right muscles.
  • Perfect your technique: Upon locating and identifying your pelvic floor muscles, empty your bladder. Lie on your back and relax. As you now know which and where your pelvic muscles are, tighten them. Hold it for five seconds, and then relax for the next five seconds. Do this continuously for four or five times. Then proceed to contracting the muscles gradually up to 10 seconds and also relaxing for another 10 seconds.
  • Maintain your focus: Doing this right means being careful not to flex the muscles in your abdomen, thighs or buttocks. To produce better results, focus on tightening your pelvic floor muscles specifically. Do not hold your breath but have a relaxing breathing rhythm during the exercises. Many women find using a pair of kegel balls very helpful, you can purchase a set at your local adult shop.
  • Do this exercise at least 3 times a day for 10 repetitions each set.

Be aware of not making a habit of using Kegel exercises to start and stop your urinating because doing Kegels while urinating will have the negative effect of weakening the muscles, and may lead to incomplete emptying of the bladder which could increases the risk of having urinary tract infections.

When to do your Kegels

It is advisable to do Kegels as part of your everyday routine. Upon familiarizing with your pelvic floor muscles, you can actually do Kegels anytime. You can even try to incorporate Kegels into one of your daily tasks such as when you’re sitting in front of your computer while checking your emails.

When you’re having trouble

If you are having a hard time doing Kegels, do not hesitate to ask for help. Your doctor and other health workers might help you in locating and identifying your pelvic floor muscles so you can work out the correct muscles.

Sometimes a biofeedback could help. In a biofeedback session, a small probe is inserted into your vagina or rectum. As you relax and contract your pelvic floor muscles, a monitor will measure and display your pelvic floor activity.

When to expect results

Doing Kegel exercises on a routinary basis, results such as less frequent urine leakage can be expected within a few months. Making Kegel exercise a permanent part of your life will help you reap continued benefits.