You’ve probably heard of Kegel exercises, the workout for your pelvic floor muscles. Your doctor may have suggested you do them if you have trouble with bladder leakage or are pregnant. How do you know if you're doing them correctly? Often, it's difficult to be sure on your own. But, your doctor or a pelvic floor physical therapist can help. How to do Kegel exercises
Before you can do Kegel exercises, you have to first find the muscles you’re exercising. You can do this the next time you need to urinate – just start to go and then stop. Those are your pelvic floor muscles that tighten up when you stop the flow of urine, the same muscles you tighten and relax when you do Kegel exercises. And while we don't really recommend doing this repeatedly during urination, it can be a helpful way to at least identify the right muscles.
The next time you see your primary care provider, obstetrician gynecologist or urogynecologist, they can help you identify these muscles as well.
Once you’ve found your pelvic floor muscles, try doing the workout lying down first (it’s easier than sitting or standing up), and make sure your bladder is empty before you begin.
Trying Kegel exercises:
- Tighten your pelvic floor muscles for three to five seconds – all other muscles should stay relaxed.
- Relax your pelvic floor muscles for three to five seconds.
- Tighten and relax the muscles 10 times.
- Be sure to breathe.
You can do this in sets of 10, three to four times per day, and two to four times per week. If you’re working out the right muscles, your bladder issues may improve in a few weeks or months. They can be done discreetly anywhere, standing up, sitting or lying down, and they cost nothing to do.
Doing Kegel exercises correctly
The one drawback of Kegel exercises is that, even after you’ve found your pelvic floor muscles, it can still be difficult to do them correctly.
So, how can you know if you’re doing them right? You can always have your primary care provider, obstetrician, gynecologist or urogynecologist check and confirm for you. Your doctor may suggest using a device, such as vaginal cones, to help you figure out if you’re doing them the right way.
Seeing a physical therapist who specializes in physical therapy for the pelvic floor muscles is the ideal way to ensure you’re doing Kegels correctly. A pelvic floor physical therapist can not only train you to do the exercises properly, but also help get you into a consistent routine of doing your exercises. Once you know you are doing the correct excercise, you can continue them on your own. Bottom line:
it's important to make sure you are doing the right excercise because if you are not you are not going to see the results you want, and you may even do further damage to your pelvic floor.Do you experience bladder or bowel leakage, pain during intercourse, pelvic pain, or other related symptoms? Our urogynecology experts can help; don't suffer in silence. Schedule an appointment today!