Kegel exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and reduce the risk of urinary and fecal incontinence.
What are Kegel exercises?
Kegel exercises are muscle-strengthening moves that build the muscles in a woman’s pelvic floor. Like any exercise, Kegel exercises should performed on a regular basis to achieve the best results and may take several weeks.
How to do Kegel exercises
- Kegel exercises take only a few minutes a day and can be done while in a sitting or reclining position. Before performing Kegel’s, it’s important to identify the pelvic floor muscles so that the exercises are effective.
- Find the pelvic floor muscles – The best way to local the correct muscles is to tighten the same muscles you would use to avoid wetting your pants or passing gas. This will help you identify the appropriate movement to use when practicing your Kegel exercises. A common mistake is to inadvertently tighten muscles in the abdomen or buttocks instead of the pelvic floor. If you are unsure you’re using the right muscles, ask your gynecologist for help.
- Strengthening pelvic floor muscles – Once the correct muscles have been located, make Kegel exercises a regular part of your daily routine. Practice contracting the muscle group for 3 to 5 seconds, release for 5 seconds and tighten again. Repeat this 5 times. Gradually, you will build up to longer contractions and more repetitions. Try to find time for 3 to 4 daily sessions.
Benefits of Kegel exercises
Many things can weaken the pelvic floor muscles including pregnancy, childbirth, surgery, excess weight, heavy lifting or pushing and age. When this muscle group loses strength it can lead to urinary incontinence or fecal leakage.
Your OBGYN will likely recommend Kegel exercises as one of the first steps in treating these problems.