Kegel exercises are simple exercises that you can do to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. These are the muscles that support your bladder, uterus, rectum and vagina. They also help you control your urine flow and bowel movements.
- Urinary incontinence: This is when you leak urine when you cough, sneeze, laugh or exercise. It can happen due to weak pelvic floor muscles, pregnancy, childbirth, aging or obesity.
- Fecal incontinence: This is when you leak stool or gas from your anus. It can happen due to weak pelvic floor muscles, nerve damage, diarrhea or constipation.
- Uterine prolapse: This is when your uterus drops down into your vagina. It can happen due to weak pelvic floor muscles, pregnancy, childbirth, menopause or obesity.
- Sexual dysfunction: This is when you have problems with sexual arousal, orgasm or pain during sex. It can happen due to weak pelvic floor muscles, nerve damage, hormonal changes or psychological factors.
- Increasing the tone and strength of your pelvic floor muscles
- Improving the blood flow and nerve supply to your pelvic organs
- Enhancing your sexual sensation and satisfaction
- Boosting your confidence and self-esteem
How to Do Kegel Exercises
To do Kegel exercises, you need to first identify your pelvic floor muscles. You can do this by:
- Stopping your urine midstream. The muscles you use to do this are your pelvic floor muscles. Do not do this too often or as a way of doing Kegel exercises, as it can cause urinary tract infections or bladder problems.
- Inserting a finger into your vagina and squeezing it. The muscles you feel tightening around your finger are your pelvic floor muscles.
- Choose a comfortable position. You can do Kegel exercises lying down, sitting or standing.
- Contract your pelvic floor muscles for 3 to 5 seconds. Imagine that you are trying to stop passing urine or gas. Do not hold your breath or tighten your abdomen, buttocks or thighs.
- Relax your pelvic floor muscles for 3 to 5 seconds. Make sure you fully relax between each contraction.
- Repeat the contraction and relaxation 10 to 15 times. This is one set of Kegel exercises.
- Do at least 3 sets of Kegel exercises every day. You can spread them throughout the day, such as in the morning, afternoon and evening.
You can also vary the intensity and duration of your contractions. For example, you can do quick contractions for 2 to 3 seconds followed by longer contractions for 10 seconds. You can also try holding a contraction for as long as you can and then relaxing for the same amount of time.
Tips for Doing Kegel Exercises
- Be consistent. Do Kegel exercises every day at the same time and place. It may take several weeks or months before you notice any improvement in your symptoms.
- Be patient. Do not expect immediate results or give up if you do not see any changes. Kegel exercises are a long-term solution that require regular practice and maintenance.
- Be discreet. You can do Kegel exercises anywhere and anytime without anyone noticing. You can do them while watching TV, reading a book, working at your desk or driving a car.
- Be careful. Do not overdo Kegel exercises or strain your pelvic floor muscles too much. This can cause muscle fatigue, pain or injury. Stop doing Kegel exercises if you feel any discomfort or have any bleeding or discharge from your vagina or anus.
- Be guided. If you have trouble finding or contracting your pelvic floor muscles, consult your doctor or a physical therapist who specializes in pelvic floor rehabilitation. They can help you learn how to do Kegel exercises correctly and safely.
Kegel exercises are simple but effective ways to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and improve your bladder and bowel control, uterine support and sexual function. By doing Kegel exercises regularly and correctly, you can prevent or treat various conditions that affect many women and enhance your quality of life.