CAN KEGEL EXERCISES REALLY BENEFIT INCONTINENCE?

December 03, 2021 2 min read

There are exercises that can help and prevent incontinence, one of which is called Kegel exercises. Performing Kegel exercises is one of the best natural processes to undertake. It is a simple exercise in which you can practice daily to help develop stronger pelvic floor muscles. Regardless of age, developing strong pelvic floor muscles is important as bladder leaks occur when these muscles are weak.

There are many reasons as to why your pelvic floor muscles can weaken:

  1. Pregnancy/childbirth
  2. Surgery
  3. Aging
  4. Chronic coughing, sneezing or laughing
  5. Straining from constipation
  6. Being overweight

Your pelvic floor muscles support your pelvic organs such as the uterus, bladder and bowel. To identify which muscles are your pelvic floor muscles, they are the ones in which you would use to stop your stream of urine, stop yourself from passing gas or having a bowel movement.

Key tips to start Kegel exercises:

  1. Identify your pelvic floor muscles –it is suggested to contract the muscles you would use to stop urination midstream to identify your pelvic floor muscles
  2. Find what is comfortable for you –most people prefer doing the exercises lying down or sitting on a chair
  3. Breathe –avoid holding your breath during the exercises, it is suggested to breathe freely and deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth.
  4. Duration –keep your muscles contracted for three to six seconds then relax for up to 10 seconds
  5. Repeat –it is suggested to do up to 15 exercises per session and three sessions per day for the best results

How to do Kegel exercises - Your breathing technique is your best friend

  1. Begin by relaxing your pelvic muscles. Breathe deeply in through your nose and let your abdomen expand as it fills with air.
  2. As you breath out through your mouth slowly, contract your pelvic floor muscles
  3. Whilst you breathe out, keep your pelvic floor muscles contracted for three to six seconds until your muscles get tired
  4. Breathe in again and release the contraction
  5. Relax your muscles for three to 10 seconds. You should rest between each contraction for the same amount of time or longer that the contraction lasted. Do not hold your breath.

Make sure to avoid using your abdomen, leg or buttock muscles when contracting your pelvic floor muscles. By making Kegel exercises part of your daily routine, you can expect to see incontinence improvements within a few weeks or months. Kegel exercises should be relaxing so if you feel uncomfortable, it is recommended you seek advice from a medical professional.

 

Medical Disclaimer: Articles are intended for informational purposes only and should not be used as the basis of patient treatment. Ask a medical professional if you have any health-related questions or concerns.

Additional Resources

Mayo Clinic. (2020). Kegel Exercises: A how-to guide for women.https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/womens-health/in-depth/kegel-exercises/art-20045283

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre. (2018). Pelvic Floor Muscle (Kegel) Exercises for Women to Improve Sexual Health. https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/patient-education/pelvic-floor-muscle-kegel-exercises-women-improve-sexual-health

Nazario, B. (2021). Urinary Incontinence: Kegel Exercises for Pelvic Muscles.https://www.webmd.com/urinary-incontinence-oab/oab-21/urinary-incontinence-kegel-exercises-for-pelvic-muscles

 



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