What do Kegel exercises do?
Kegel exercises can strengthen the muscles around the vagina and increase your ability to control and relax these muscles completely. Keeping these muscles strong can help prevent a prolapsed uterus or poor bladder control and may add pleasure to sexual intercourse. These muscles are used when you urinate or have bowel movements. If your pelvic muscles have weakened, urine can leak out. Over time, weakens develops in the pelvic floor muscles due to normal wear and tear and childbirth. The bladder, uterus and rectum begin to slip down and get squeezed into the lower regions of the pelvis.
How do I do Kegels?
You can do Kegels anywhere: while you sit at a desk, wait for a bus, wash dishes, drive a car, wait in line, or watch television. No one will know you are doing them.
Here's how you do it:
- To get the feel of the muscles, start and stop urinating while using the toilet. You can also tighten the muscles as if trying to hold back from passing gas. Kegel exercises can be performed while on the floor, sitting or standing.
- Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent and about 12 inches apart with your feet flat on the floor. Arms should be resting by your sides.
- Tighten these muscles and hold for 5 seconds. Then relax. Tighten and relax these muscles at least 10 times.
- Do these sets of exercises 10 times a day.
- You will probably see a change for the better after doing these exercises every day for 3 to 6 months. It is important to keep doing Kegels the rest of your life.
What can I do to help keep my pelvic floor muscles strong?
- If you are overweight, try to loose the excess pounds. Pelvic floor problems are more likely to occur in overweight women.
- Don't smoke. Women who smoke appear to have problems with their pelvic floor muscles more often than nonsmokers.
- Always lift heavy objects with care, or get help with the lifting if needed.
- Keep aerobic exercises low-impact. It is not known for sure if high-impact aerobics affect the pelvic floor, but the trauma of repetitive jolting may lead to damage of the pelvic nerves and muscles.
- Avoid constipation. Straining may cause damage to pelvic muscles or nerves. Eat a high fiber diet and drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water daily.