Pelvic floor exercises, or Kegels, are done to exercise more bladder and bowel control. With a regular and proper execution of these exercises, it can help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which will make it easier to hold urine and feces. Another benefit of these exercises is improved satisfaction when having sexual intercourse.
Pelvic floor muscles
The pelvic floor is the group of muscles supporting your bowel, bladder, uterus, and urethra. These muscles are shaped like a hammock and can be found from the public bone to the spinal column. They support all the organs located inside the abdomen especially when the person is in standing position.
Normal pelvic floor muscles are firm and slightly tense so that urine from the bladder and feces from the bowel will both be controlled. The muscles relax as you urinate or defecate. They return to their tightened state afterwards. However, over time these muscles may weaken. Leaking happens because of weakened pelvic floor muscles.
Pelvic floor exercises
Pelvic floor exercises are done to help strengthen and build up the muscles that support the pelvic organs. This is done to control and prevent any leaking.
Before starting to do pelvic floor exercises, you need to remember that these have to be done correctly and regularly. You should always make sure that you are doing them properly so that the right exercises will be exercised. Remember, exercising the wrong muscles will not give the benefits you want.
One cannot expect pelvic floor exercises to take effect in an instant. You will see results after several months of consistent exercise. However, improvements on leak control may be seen immediately.
How to identify the pelvic floor muscles
To get started in learning to contract the pelvic floor muscles, you first have to identify them. Don’t make the mistake of tightening the abdominal muscles. What you want to do is feel the pelvic floor by tightening the muscles around the vagina and rectum and acting as though you are refraining from passing wind. Squeeze the muscles surrounding the anus and feel the movement. You will feel a tightening around the anus, which will feel as though it is being pulled up.
Try not to move your thighs or buttocks, and try not to hold your breath. Your abdominal muscles should be relaxed. When you tighten the muscle; the opening of the rectum should also contract.
You can also identify the muscles by stopping your urine midstream. Remember the muscles you contracted and relaxed to control your urine because these are the muscles you will exercise. However, you should not make a habit of squeezing these muscles while urinating. This may result in urinary problems or incompletely emptying of the bladder.
Another method is by placing two fingers into the vagina and trying to squeeze them. You’ve identified the right muscles if you feel the tightening around the fingers. Always do this with clean fingers to avoid infection.
How to do Kegel’s
Kegel’s exercise is done by squeezing the pelvic muscles tight and holding it in that position for about 5 seconds. Afterwards, you will relax the muscles for ten seconds. Repeat this ten times and do 3 sets per day. You can do it in the morning, afternoon, and at night.
Once you’ve gotten used to ten contractions, increase it to 15 contractions 3 times a day and then 20 contractions 3 times a day. After that you can do 20 contractions 4 times a day. Once you’re also comfortable with that, you can add 20 more contractions if possible.
Reminders when doing Kegel’s
Always remember that Kegel’s exercises will only work if you do them regularly. It shouldn’t be that hard to do since they can be done anywhere, regardless of whether you are lying, sitting, or standing. Add it to your routine. You can even make a habit of doing Kegel’s while traveling to work, watching the news or listening to the radio. If you do it alongside a certain TV or radio program, you will easily remember when it’s time for your next set of Kegel’s.
Kegel’s exercises should also be done whenever there is a need for them. For example, to prevent urine leak, consciously tighten the pelvic floor muscles when changing positions or when you are laughing or coughing. You should also be patient with these exercises. Avoid being discouraged when you don’t see results for the first few weeks. Simply continue with the exercise and you will soon notice an improvement.
Need help with Kegel’s?
You can go to a healthcare professional for help in identifying the right muscles. The professional can either use biofeedback or vaginal cones for this. For biofeedback, a probe will be inserted in to the vagina. This will measure the effects of your contractions on the correct muscles and the results will be displayed on a monitor.
Vaginal cones are inserted into the vagina and you will try to hold them with your pelvic floor muscles. If you can contract the muscles to keep the cones from falling out, then you can already do the exercise on your own.