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What are Kegel Exercises?

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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 17 November 2016
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Dr. Arnold H. Kegel is perhaps best known for his invention of exercises for the pelvic floor muscles, which are now called Kegel exercises. Many women use this simple exercise, especially for addressing a type of urinary incontinence called stress incontinence. When women have had children, they tend to have a weakening of the muscles around the urethra, vagina, and rectum. This can lead to urine leakage when they cough, sneeze or even laugh. Kegel exercises can significantly reduce this leakage in many women by restoring these muscles to a more toned state.

Kegel exercises are not like leg lifts. You know you’re doing a leg lift right because your leg is up in the air. With these exercises, you’re squeezing muscles you can’t see, so it may be hard at first to know whether you’re correctly doing Kegels. The easiest way to find the muscles that you’re going to want to tighten and loosen can occur when you are urinating.

When in the midst of urinating, try to stop your urine flow with your muscles. If you’ve stopped or reduced it, you’ve found the muscles you need to do Kegel exercises. Don’t practice the urine flow stop often, since this can cause bladder infections if you don’t fully empty your bladder regularly. You’re not at much risk for an infection if you do this three or four times to be sure you’ve got the correct muscles for Kegel exercises.

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Once you know which muscles to use, there is a specific method for performing these exercises. It’s best if you are seated or lying on your back. You’ll want to squeeze the muscles and hold that squeeze for about four seconds. Relax the muscle for four seconds and repeat. You should to get in as many repetitions as you can in a five-minute period, but some women may need to work up to five minutes.

Do these exercises twice daily for best results. Once you can easily do five minutes of them, and hold the muscle for at least four seconds, work on increasing time length of hold to eight to ten seconds. Relax for the same amount of time as you squeeze.

Studies show these exercises can significantly improve mild incontinence in about eight to twelve weeks. If you’re doing Kegel exercises correctly and they’re not working, you should talk to you gynecologist about other solutions. Also, if you’re not sure you’re doing them right, a yearly exam or postpartum exam is a great place to check. Ask your doctor to train you how to do them or to check to make sure you’re getting the exercises right.

Ideally, you should start doing Kegel exercises before you have any type of incontinence problems. They are great to do when you’re pregnant and may help strengthen your muscles for pushing during labor. Starting them before you have problems can also help you more easily get back into shape after weakening of the muscles occurs during childbirth.

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Talentryto
Post 2

@rundocuri- Though Kegel exercises are primarily geared towards women, men can do them to for bladder control issues. The Kegel exercise routine is the same for men, and so are the effects.

Many men experience bladder control issues from health problems of the prostate, bladder, or bowel. By strengthening the muscles that control urination, these problems can be controlled. Doing Kegel exercises is an easy, affordable, and non-invasive way to improve the muscle tone that controls the bladder.

Rundocuri
Post 1

Can Kegel exercises be beneficial to men? My father has bladder incontinence from a previous surgery, and is trying to find a way to correct his issues naturally.

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