What are Kegel exercises?
Kegel exercises help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. These muscles support the bladder, bowels, and rectum, as well as the uterus for women. By doing kegel exercises, also known as lower pelvic floor muscle training, one can better control urges to go to the bathroom and prevent other incontinence problems.
Why should I do Kegel exercises?
Aging, childbirth, and other medical conditions can weaken your pelvic floor muscles over time. This can result in uncontrolled leaks while coughing, laughing, or sneezing, which is known as stress incontinence. Some people may also experience strong urges to urinate even though they just went to the bathroom or accidentally leak stool (fecal incontinence). Practicing kegel exercises can help individuals with these issues strengthen their pelvic muscles and gain better control over their incontinence.
How to Do Kegel Exercises
- Identify your pelvic floor muscles by contracting your bladder during urination. This should stop urination midstream and give you an idea of where your pelvic floor muscles are located.
- Once you are comfortable and know where your pelvic floor muscles are, practice the same contraction exercise in any position. This can be done lying down, sitting down, or standing up. Some people find it easiest to first try this exercise while lying down and lifting up their hips off the floor.
- Practice, practice, practice! The more times you try this exercise, the better you will become at it. Inhale from your nose and try imagining that you’re lifting a tiny ball with your pelvic muscles. Exhale from your mouth and relax your pelvic muscles to release the ball. Do this a few times throughout the day until you feel confident.
- Concentrate on contracting your pelvic muscles only. If you find yourself squeezing your buttocks, abdomen, or thighs, try the exercise mentioned above until you perfect your technique. Work yourself up to doing sets of 10, 15, or 20 repetitions.
- Practice kegels on a consistent basis. Make kegel exercises a part of your daily routine. Once you get the hang of it, you can do it anywhere and at any time. Practice this at least three times a day for better results. Doing kegel exercises consistently can help decrease unexpected leaks and constant trips to the restroom. Be patient with yourself and know that better days are coming.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help from a health professional
Health professionals are there to help you and you shouldn’t be embarrassed to ask questions. If you are experiencing difficulty doing kegel exercises or wondering if you are exercising the right muscles, your doctor can better help address your issues and concerns.
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