Kegel exercises, which are one type of pelvic floor exercise, have been in use since 1948. For decades, doctors have praised this exercise as an excellent tool to help with a number of pelvic health issues. While this exercises was once most often recommended to pregnant individuals, kegels can be an important part of pelvic therapy for people of all ages and genders. Often, they are part of treatment programs to address a multitude of concerns including urinary and fecal incontinence. When the pelvic floor muscles lack adequate strength and endurance, they may struggle to control functions we often don’t think twice about. However, as wonderful as this exercise may be, it is important to remember that kegels may not be appropriate for everyone. Doing kegels, or performing them incorrectly, can actually worsen many pelvic health conditions! Therefore, it’s important that you be evaluated by a specialist before proceeding with this exercise.
Avoiding a Common Mistake
Many people believe that the best way to do Kegel exercises is to practice stopping and releasing the flow of urine. This can done a few times as a test on whether you are contracting the correct muscles, but it should not be used as a regular form of Kegel exercise! In fact, regularly stopping the flow of urine can be dangerous and increase your chances of developing a urinary tract infection. It can also contribute to other urinary symptoms.
Proper Kegel Exercises Technique
The best way to learn how to do Kegel exercises is to talk to a trained professional. The pelvic therapists at Grace Physical Therapy have extensive experience in helping their patients train the pelvic floor muscles and will be able to guide you through the exercises you need to achieve your goals. Once you learn how to do Kegel exercises properly, you should do them according to the frequency suggested by your pelvic therapist.
Here’s a quick breakdown of how a kegel exercise is performed:
To perform a proper kegel exercise, start with an empty bladder and lie down on your back.Tighten the pelvic floor muscles by imagining you are stopping the flow of urine or like you’re trying to hold in gas. Keep the contraction for five to ten seconds and then release. Repeat 5-10 times in a row.
One thing to keep in mind when doing kegel exercises: You should only be tightening your pelvic floor muscles and nothing else. Your rear end, abdomen and thighs should remain relaxed. If you find yourself holding tension there, these muscles might be ‘taking over’ for your pelvic floor muscles. If this happens, you would likely benefit from training led by a pelvic therapist!
Our therapists can help you learn how to use kegel exercises appropriately to treat a number of concerns, including urinary incontinence, pelvic pain, urinary urgency and more. If you’re curious to know whether or not kegel exercises are right for you, contact us at the clinic and we will be more than glad to get you started on your path to success!