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PELVIC FLOOR EXERCISE, WHY AND HOW TO TONE THOSE KEGELS

by Jekaterina Gussarova August 01, 2022 4 min read

PELVIC FLOOR EXERCISE, WHY AND HOW TO TONE THOSE KEGELS

PELVIC FLOOR EXERCISE, WHY AND HOW TO TONE THOSE KEGELS

Kegels are exercises that strengthen the muscles surrounding the bladder, rectum, urethra, vagina, and uterus. Below is everything you need to know about kegel exercises, including how to perform them and how often you should try them.

Kegels are named after Arnold Kegel, a gynecologist. He initially prescribed them in the 1940s to aid women with urine leakage or a loss of bladder control, which affects up to two-thirds of women during or after pregnancy. In other cases, kegel exercises may lower the likelihood of postpartum bowel incontinence. If you suffer from hemorrhoids and are healing from an episiotomy or perineal tear, kegel exercises are beneficial. This article highlights how and why you should try these exercises.

Why You Should Try Kegel Exercises

Your pelvic floor muscles may not cross your thoughts when functioning right. However, as you get older, they may deteriorate, putting you at risk of pelvic organ prolapse. When suffering from a prolapse of the pelvic organs (POP), the pelvic organs begin to droop. They can fall into or out of your vaginal canal. Your vaginal tissues may begin to protrude from your body after a hysterectomy. Other factors that increase the risk of POP include:

  • Pregnancy
  • Vaginal birth is when a woman gives birth through her vaginal canal.
  • Pelvic surgery is a procedure that is performed on the pelvic area (C-section or hysterectomy)
  • Genetics
  • Coughing, laughing, or sneezing regularly (it pushes on the pelvic organs)

Hadizadeh-Talasaz et al. (2019) advised continuing with Kegel exercises daily after childbirth to maintain bladder control and improve the muscular tone of your vaginal wall, making sex after birth more pleasurable. Kegel exercises aren't only for women; they can also help men improve their pelvic floor muscles, which support the bladder and bowel while also boosting sexual function. If you suffer bowel or bladder incontinence or dribble after urinating, Kegels can assist. They can improve sex by providing men more sensation and control over ejaculation during orgasm.

How To Do Kegel Exercises

Performing kegel exercisesis not difficult. If you've never tried a Kegel before, lie down on your back with your bent knees and pretend to be attempting to prevent yourself from farting while also interrupting urine flow. Pretend you are positioned between marble and trying to draw it up into your vaginal opening. If you're unsure if you have it, place a clean finger into your vaginal opening and perform a Kegel until you feel pressure around your finger. Alternatively, while having intercourse or experiencing pleasure, attempt a Kegel. Your spouse should experience a contraction on their finger or penis. Squeeze and lift without pushing in your stomach, pressing your legs together, clenching your buttocks, or suppressing your breath. You should only engage your pelvic floor muscles. While completing Kegels, keep a hand on your stomach to ensure that it remains relaxed. If you're new to Kegels, start with "fast flicks," which entail relaxing and loosening your pelvic floor muscles in a short squeeze. Do ten cycles of each, gradually increasing to 20 reps as your muscles become stronger. The second type of Kegel exercise involves gradually increasing your pelvic floor spasms for ten seconds and then releasing your muscles for ten seconds. As you build strength, increase the number of repetitions. Ensure you do a kegel when you sneeze, cough, or move something heavy. This will keep you from leaking. 

Talk to your healthcare professional if you're unsure that you're executing Kegel exercises correctly. They can check to determine if you're targeting the right muscles. Also,  if you think you're having problems with your pelvic floor due to pregnancy or childbirth, consult your doctor. They can send you to a pelvic floor specialist or a physical therapist specializing in women's health to assess your situation. Treatments for pelvic floor dysfunction are available from some doctors and therapists, and they can effectively aid with pelvic floor weakness.

How Often Should You Do Kegel Exercises

Begin by performing a few Kegels throughout the day. Gradually increase the amount of Kegels you execute and the duration you maintain each contraction, up to ten seconds, as your muscles become stronger. Working up to two sets of ten rounds three times a day is a good goal. However,  doing more than this may cause you to strain when peeing. Make Kegels a regular aspect of your workout. It's simple to include Kegels without having to lie down after you've gotten the hang of it. For example, you could do a couple when you wake up, more while watching TV, and before bed. It doesn't matter where or when you do them as long as you do them regularly. You may notice a difference in bladder control after four to six weeks of exercising Kegels regularly. According to Kuncharapu et al. (2010), maintaining the strength of your pelvic floor muscles can help you avoid pelvic organ prolapse, a frequent problem among older and postpartum women.

The Bottom Line

Pelvic floor exercises or Kegel exercises are workouts that strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, including the uterus, bladder, small intestine, and rectum. Kegels can prevent you from getting bladder leaks, farting, or passing stool by accident. They can also help you have better orgasms. However, these exercises aren't suitable for everyone and may cause more harm than good if your pelvic floor muscles have always been tense. Muscles that are already weary will be unable to respond if you try to contact them.

References

Hadizadeh-Talasaz, Z., Sadeghi, R., & Khadivzadeh, T. (2019). Effect Of Pelvic Floor Muscle Training On Postpartum Sexual Function And Quality Of Life: A Systematic Review And Meta-Analysis Of Clinical Trials. Taiwanese Journal Of Obstetrics And Gynecology, 58(6), 737-747.Kuncharapu, I., Majeroni, B. A., & Johnson, D. W. (2010). Pelvic Organ Prolapse. American Family Physician, 81(9), 1111-1117.

Jekaterina Gussarova
Jekaterina Gussarova


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