Kegel exercises are meant to tighten the pelvic floor muscles, or the muscles supporting the bladder, uterus, vagina, urethra, and rectum.
American gynecologist Dr. Antonio Kegel created these exercises in the late 1940s.
They are designed to protect you from the discomfort and possible embarrassment of urinary incontinence, or the unintentional leaking of urine.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 50% of the older population, especially women, suffer from urinary incontinence.
Kegel exercises (also called pelvic floor exercises) are ways to address urinary incontinence. They are also useful in controlling the accidental passing of feces or gas, and may even help provide sexual satisfaction by producing orgasms.
Learning how to do Kegel exercises to tighten the pelvic muscles also has the following benefits:
- Prevents the bowel from sagging into the vagina
- Allows men to manage pain in the prostate and the swelling that goes with it. Men who know how to do Kegel exercises to tighten the pelvis also have more control during ejaculation.
- Gives patients more time to reach the restroom.
- Prevents the involuntary passing of urine when coughing, sneezing, laughing and bending over.
How to do Kegel exercises to tighten the pelvic muscles
One-third of the men and women who needs to learn how to do Kegel exercises to tighten pelvic muscles are working on the wrong area – their abdominal, buttocks, or inner thigh muscles. In these cases, they do not reap the rewards of Kegel exercises.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to do Kegel exercises to tighten pelvic muscles.
How do you find out where your pelvic muscles are?
- Make believe you are attempting to avoid passing gas, and pay attention to the activated muscles.
- Pretend you are about to pick up a marble beneath you with your vagina.
- If you wish to feel your pelvic muscles, gently insert a finger in the vagina and clench, pretending you are attempting to prevent urine from leaking. You are on the right track when you feel tightening around your finger. It means you are contracting the correct pelvic muscles.
- Pretend you are tightening your vagina around a tampon.
- Make believe you are attempting to avoid passing gas.
- Try stopping your urine stream when urinating to feel your pelvic muscles.
If you are doing it right, you will feel the back of your pelvic area contract more than the front.
It takes patience and practice to learn how to do Kegel exercises to tighten pelvic muscles right.
Here are the things you must do:
- Practice your contractions. Begin by lying on your back until you feel your pelvic floor muscles contracting. Once you get used to it, you may practice contracting your pelvic muscles while sitting or standing.
- Contract your pelvic floor muscles while counting three to five seconds. Release for three to five seconds.
- You may try to increase the duration of contraction as you progress.
- Perform the contractions/ relaxation exercises 10-20 times per set.
How do you get the best benefits from Kegel exercises?
Here are more tips on how to do Kegel exercises to tighten pelvic muscles and make the most of them:
- Relax your other muscles. Prevent your abdominal, leg or buttocks muscle from contracting. Gently position your hand over your tummy to be aware of unnecessary action in that area.
- Stretch the time. Slowly lengthen your contractions and relaxations. Try holding them for 10 seconds each.
- Raise your target. Try doing a minimum of 30 to 40 Kegel exercises every day. Do them piecemeal, not in one go. No one needs to notice when you contract and relax your pelvic muscles, while you are doing the groceries, waiting by the elevator, standing in line at the MRT or LRT station, or entering or leaving a building.
- Opt for variety. Go for short contractions and releases (or quick flicks) that last two to three seconds, along with lengthier ones.
- Empty your bladder. Then, stand, sit or lie down. These movements will make pelvic muscles stronger. Refrain from doing Kegel exercises while passing urine. This will make your pelvic floor muscles weak and could harm your bladder and kidneys.
When can you see improvement after learning how to do Kegel exercises to tighten pelvic muscles?
Many women report reduced urine leakage 12 weeks after learning how to do Kegel exercises to tighten pelvic muscles – and sticking to the program.
Learning how to do Kegel exercises to tighten pelvic muscles can improve your quality of life. You can do the exercises while going about your daily routine.
They require no equipment, just repeated practice and patience. This makes Kegel exercises to tighten pelvic muscles a widely accepted way to treat urinary incontinence and other medical conditions in men and women.
Learn more about pelvic related issues, here.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.