photo remix: Yoga woman on exercise ball - flickr_enthusiast_rocks_Nilmarie_Yoga-001 by adria.richards

Why Kegel Exercises are Important

Kegel exercises, or exercises that support the pelvic muscles, are an important part of your reproductive and sexual health. Think of your pelvic muscles as a natural girdle for the internal organs you have in your lower body. Kegel exercises, named after the physician who invented them, strengthen the muscles around your vagina, urethra, and rectum, which help hold up your pelvic organs and prevent urine leakage and constipation.

Kegel Exercises during Pregnancy

Toning your Kegel muscles is especially important for pregnant women because strong pelvic muscles make labor and delivery easier and help women get back bladder control after delivery. After pregnancy and delivery, pelvic muscles can stretch and weaken. Weak pelvic muscles can cause women to have long-term problems because the muscles can become so weak that they can no longer support the uterus. If this happens, the uterus can sag or come completely out of the body, called uterine prolapse. This can cause low back pain, painful sexual intercourse, and difficulty walking or going to the bathroom. Practicing Kegel exercises each day help to tone your pelvic muscles and support your lower internal organs.

Although pregnancy, aging, being overweight and daily strain can weaken your pelvic muscles, many women are not taught how to properly tone these important muscles. By following these directions, you can start toning your pelvic muscles with Kegel exercises.

How to Exercise Your Pelvic Muscles

Kegel exercises are easy to do once you find your pelvic muscles. You can find your pelvic muscles in one of two ways:

  1. Place a clean finger in your vagina. Sit or lie on the bed and place a finger in your vagina. Then try to squeeze the muscles around your vagina. When you are squeezing the right muscles, you will feel the muscles tense up around your finger.
  2. Stop the flow of urine midstream. Sit on the toilet and start a flow of urine. To find your pelvic muscles, try to stop your urine flow in the middle of your flow. The muscles you use to stop the flow of urine are the muscles you need to squeeze to practice Kegel exercises. Do not make a habit of stopping your urine flow this way because this can weaken your pelvic muscles and increase the chance you will get a urinary tract infection.

After you know how to find your pelvic muscles, you can exercise them each day. Just squeeze your pelvic muscles tight and hold for 5 seconds or longer. Then release your pelvic muscles for 5 seconds. Do 10 to 15 repetitions of this exercise 3 times a day.

When to Practice Your Kegel Exercises

The nice thing about Kegel exercises is that you can perform them anywhere. Just make them part of your daily routine by doing them during the following times:

  • When brushing your teeth
  • Stopping at a red light
  • Driving down the highway
  • Waiting in the doctor’s office
  • Waiting in line to pick up your child from school
  • When sitting at your desk
  • When checking your email

It may take several weeks of regular Kegel exercise before you notice that your pelvic muscles are stronger. If you have any questions about Kegel exercises please call Dr. Hessel. She wants to see you as soon as possible so make your online appointment with her today. We are always here for you!

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