Kegel exercises can help make the muscles under the uterus, bladder, and bowel (large intestine) stronger. They can help both men and women who have problems with urine leakage or bowel control. You may have these problems:
- As you get older
- If you gain weight
- After pregnancy and childbirth
- After gynecologic surgery (women)
- After prostate surgery (men)
People who have brain and nerve disorders may also have problems with urine leakage or bowel control.
Kegel exercises can be done any time you are sitting or lying down. You can do them when you are eating, sitting at your desk, driving, and when you are resting or watching television.
How to Find the Right Muscles
A Kegel exercise is like pretending you have to urinate/defecate/pass gas and then holding it. You relax and tighten the muscles that control them. It is important to find the right muscles to tighten.
How to do Kegel Exercises
Once you know what the movement feels like, do Kegel exercises 3 times a day:
- Make sure your bladder is empty, then sit or lie down.
- Tighten your pelvic floor muscles. Hold tight and count to 8.
- Relax the muscles and count to 10.
- Repeat 10 times, 3 times a day (morning, afternoon, and night).
Breathe deeply and relax your body when you are doing these exercises. Make sure you are not tightening your stomach, thigh, buttock, or chest muscles.
After 4 to 6 weeks, you should feel better and have fewer symptoms. Keep doing the exercises, but do not increase how many you do. Overdoing it can lead to straining when you urinate or move your bowels.
Kegel exercises were invented by Dr. Arnold Kegel. They are also known as pelvic floor exercises. Kegel exercises are very useful for pregnant women as they strengthen and tones up the pelvic muscles that support the bladder, uterus and bowels. These exercises help to deal with urinary incontinence that is a common problem during pregnancy.