Kegel exercises, also known as pelvic floor exercises, are a set of exercises that target and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic floor muscles support the bladder, uterus, rectum, and other pelvic organs, and are involved in controlling urinary and bowel functions, as well as sexual function.
Here's how to perform Kegel exercises:
- Identify the pelvic floor muscles: Before starting Kegel exercises, it's important to locate the pelvic floor muscles. One way to do this is by trying to stop the flow of urine while urinating. The muscles used to do this are the pelvic floor muscles.
- Empty your bladder: It's recommended to perform Kegel exercises with an empty bladder to avoid any potential disruption of normal urinary function.
- Contract the pelvic floor muscles: Once you have identified the pelvic floor muscles, contract them by squeezing or lifting them upward. Imagine trying to stop the flow of urine or prevent passing gas. It's important to focus only on the pelvic floor muscles without tensing other muscles, such as the abdomen or buttocks.
- Hold and release: Hold the contraction for a few seconds, aiming for about 5 seconds initially, and then release and relax the muscles for an equal duration. Gradually increase the duration of the contraction and relaxation over time.
- Repeat and set a routine: Start with a few repetitions of Kegel exercises, and gradually increase the number of repetitions over time. Aim for at least three sets of 10 repetitions per day. Remember to breathe normally during the exercises and avoid holding your breath.
It's important to note that consistency and regularity are key for achieving the best results with Kegel exercises. It may take several weeks or even a few months of regular practice to notice improvements in muscle strength and function.
Benefits of Kegel exercises include:
- Strengthening pelvic floor muscles: Regular Kegel exercises can help strengthen and tone the pelvic floor muscles, which may improve bladder control, reduce urinary incontinence, and alleviate some symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse.
- Improved sexual function: Strong pelvic floor muscles can enhance sexual pleasure and improve orgasm intensity by increasing muscle tone and control during sexual activity.
- Rehabilitation after childbirth: Kegel exercises are often recommended as part of postpartum recovery to help restore pelvic floor strength and function after pregnancy and childbirth.
If you have specific concerns or conditions related to your pelvic floor, such as pelvic pain or urinary incontinence, it is recommended to consult a healthcare professional, such as a pelvic floor physical therapist or a gynecologist, for a proper evaluation and guidance on performing Kegel exercises effectively and safely.