Kegel exercises -- we hear about them all the time, but what are they exactly? Kegel exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles which in turn provides added support to the rectum, small intestine, bladder, and uterus.
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The benefits of Kegel Exercises
Kegel exercises holds many benefits. Pregnant women can benefit by increasing control over muscle groups that are vital to labor and delivery. Furthermore, Kegel exercises help to decrease the development of hemorrhoids while also aiding in bladder control. An added bonus of Kegel exercises is an increase in performance in the bedroom. Stronger pelvic floor muscles allow for more powerful contractions which can lead to more enjoyable orgasms.
Kegel exercises are the most natural and effective way to control urinary incontinence (UI). No matter your age, men and women alike who suffer from this issue can benefit from engaging in Kegel exercises on a regular basis. Those who suffer from urinary incontinence typically have weak pelvic floor muscles. Kegel exercises increase the strength of these muscles which in turn improves this condition.
You would benefit from Kegel exercises if you experience any of the following:
- A sudden, strong urge to urinate before losing a large of amount of urine
- Leaking when coughing, laughing or sneezing
- Stool leakage
Performing Kegel exercises
Identify the correct muscles
Before you can start Kegel exercises, you must identify where the proper muscles are located. The best way to identify these muscles is to stop yourself from urinating midstream. If you were able to stop the stream, you've found your pelvic floor muscles. Now that you've identified the proper muscles, you can now begin the exercises. The beauty of Kegel exercises is that they can be performed anywhere, anytime without anyone knowing that you're doing them. If you're a beginner, it's recommended that you start by lying down, though you can perform the exercises in any position. Practice your technique First, tighten your pelvic floor muscles and hold it for at least five seconds, and then stop to relax for five minutes. Repeat this exercise at least four to five minutes in a row.
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The best time to do Kegel exercises
The beauty of Kegel exercises is that they can be done whenever you're ready, no matter where you are. It doesn't matter if you're at the doctor's office, bus stop, grocery store or the library. When you're ready to start the exercises, you can proceed without issues.
Don't be afraid to ask for help
Kegel exercises are pretty straightforward, but you shouldn't be ashamed to ask for assistance if problems should arise. Consult with your doctor if you need assistance identifying the proper muscles. There are also countless resources online that can be found on Google and YouTube that can easily assist you with your Kegel exercises. Females can use weighted vaginal cones to get feedback while doing Kegel exercises. Simply insert the cone into the vagina and hold it in place with your pelvic muscle contractions during your repetitions. You can also engage in biofeedback in which your doctor or specialist inserts a pressure sensor into the rectum or vagina. Once you begin your pelvic floor contractions, a monitor will display information that you and your doctor can discuss.
Remember that you're not in a race. There's a very good chance that you won't see results right away, so don't worry if you're still dealing with urinary incontinence as you engage in your repetitions day by day. If you stick with the exercises, you should see results -- less urine leakage -- a few weeks to a few months in.Even if you don't see results within a few months continue your Kegel exercises on a daily basis. You should do it often enough that it becomes a regular part of your life. Given enough time and dedication (remember that each case is different) you'll eventually see results.
Thomas AndersonGeriatric Care Manager
Thomas Anderson has over 15 years of experience providing care and support to elderly individuals. He specializes in helping seniors manage their medical needs and navigate the healthcare system. Thomas keenly understands how to help aging adults stay as independent as possible while ensuring they have access to the best available resources.