Kegel exercises are pelvic floor exercises that attempt to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor (PC Muscle - pubococcygeus). These exercises improve the urethra and rectal sphincter functions. Dr. Arnold Kegel developed a set of exercises to aid women in strengthening their pelvic muscles, especially after childbirth. These exercises are now increasingly recommended for women who suffer from urinary incontinence.
Kegel Exercise or Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercise as it is usually known can also improve the quality of sexual experience for both men and women. These exercises require no additional equipment and can be done at any time.
Practicing Kegel Exercises
The underlying principle of Kegel exercises is to identify the pelvic muscles. These muscles are attached to the pelvic bone and act like a hammock that holds the pelvic organs. A woman is required to tighten and relax the pelvic muscle over and over again. Tightening and releasing those muscles is what Kegel exercises is all about. A common problem is identifying the right muscles. Most people end up contracting the abdominal or thigh muscles and the pelvic floor muscles don't get worked upon at all. In fact the incorrect contractions may worsen pelvic floor tone.
Before you embark on kegels exercise, you need to be able to identify your pelvic floor muscles and then learn to contract and relax them.
One way to do that is to stop the flow of urine as you urinate. But never try kegels exercises while urinating as it can lead to problems such as inadequate evacuation and weakening of muscles.
You can take the guidance of a nurse or doctor to teach you the correct technique. Kegel exercises can be done at any time of the day. Just 5 minutes of Kegel exercises, three times a day will do a lot of good to your bladder control. These exercises can be done while at work, watching TV or even walking. After identifying the pelvic floor muscles, embark on kegel exercise after you have emptied your bladder. Contract the pelvic floor muscles for about 10 seconds. Relax. Repeat this about 5 times. Continue to breathe normally while exercising. Do not flex the muscles of the thighs or buttocks.
Benefits of Kegel exercises
Dr. Kegel initially conceptualized these exercises for women after childbirth. Women with urinary incontinence are asked to practice Kegel's exercises regularly to increase bladder control. Conditioned pelvic muscles can help in easier childbirth. The toned musculature of the pelvic region can make for an easier vaginal delivery. You can prevent prolapse of pelvic organs. Women often suffer from pelvic organ prolapse due to pregnancy, childbirth, stress incontinence and obesity. A uterine prolapse can occur when the ligaments that hold the uterus to the wall of the pelvis become weak. This can lead to discomfort and incontinence.
Women who have a prolapsed uterus would benefit from kegels exercise. This condition occurs in women whose pelvic muscles are not very strong; more noticed in women who have had normal childbirth and postmenopausal women. It can also result from heavy lifting. Kegel exercises strengthen the inner walls of the vagina and increase the blood flow to the genital area thereby increasing the pleasure of intercourse for men and women. Regular practice of kegels helps prevent hemorrhoids. Besides the tactile sensation of a tighter vagina, doing kegels improves blood flow to the pelvic region. Improved blood flow also aids healing after childbirth.