Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles with Kegel exercises

Kegel exercises are exercises that are often recommended for men and women who need to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles which support the bladder, small intestine, rectum and uterus.

The benefits of Kegel exercises for men

Men who have an enlarged prostate, diabetes or overactive bladder, or who may have had their prostate removed, may have weaker pelvic floor muscles.  These conditions may lead to leakage after urination or urinary incontinence.   Kegel exercises may help strengthen the muscles used to prevent  these symptoms from happening.

You can do Kegel exercises anytime and anywhere.  It is even a good idea to practice them when laughing or doing any lifting or exercising, too.

When done on a regular basis, Kegel exercises will help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles,  in as little as a couple of weeks.  You will know you are seeing results when you recognize less urine leakage and better control.

The benefits of Kegel exercises for women

As with men, women may also have weak pelvic floor muscles.  Often this muscle weakness is a result of pregnancy, childbirth, obesity, surgery, age, overactive bladder or other medical conditions.  Women will find Kegel exercises may help with urinary incontinence and stress incontinence.

It is important to note that Kegel exercises may not help women who have overflow incontinence, where small amounts of urine are leaked due to a full bladder.   Women who tend to leak large amounts of urine when laughing or sneezing may also not find that Kegel exercises are helpful.

How to do Kegel exercises

A Kegel exercise is the contraction of the muscles in the pelvic floor. While urinating, contract your muscles needed to stop your urination midstream.  When you do this, you are using your pelvic floor muscles. It is that easy.

Do not hold your breath.

Do not flex the muscles in your buttocks, abdomen or thighs.

Hold the muscle contractions for 3-5 seconds, then release and tighten them again. Over time you will be able to hold the contractions for longer as the muscles in the pelvic floor gain strength.   Repeat these contraction exercises at least 3 times per day.  When not in the washroom, you can do Kegel exercises anywhere, and any time, by tightening and holding your pelvic muscles tight.

Not sure if you are doing Kegels correctly and need help? Speak to your doctor who will provide guidance to ensure you are doing them correctly.

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This article contains medical information provided to help you better understand this particular medical condition or process, and may contain information about medication often used as part of a treatment plan prescribed by a doctor.  It is not intended to be used as either a diagnosis or recommendation for treatment of your particular medical situation.  If you are unwell, concerned about your physical or mental state, or are experiencing symptoms you should speak with your doctor or primary health care provider. If you are in medical distress please contact emergency services (such as 911).

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