Pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegel exercises, strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that help support the uterus, bladder, small intestine, and rectum. These muscles can be weakened in women due to pregnancy, childbirth, aging, surgery, or being overweight.
As these muscles are important to a woman’s ability to control her bladder and rectum, it’s important to perform Kegel exercises.
Here’s how they’re done:
- Stop your urine midstream. The muscles you use to do that are the ones you should should be exercising. Be sure to finish emptying your bladder.
- Lay on your back and tighten those muscles for 5 seconds, then relax for 5 seconds. Do this 4-5 times in a row, and gradually work up to 10 second intervals.
- Do this 3 times a day.
Once you’ve mastered the technique, you will be able to do it while sitting or standing, making it easy to do it discreetly throughout the day. You can even do it while sitting at your desk at work.
But if you’re doing any of the following, you’re doing your pelvic floor exercises wrong:
- Flexing the muscles in your abdomen, thighs, or buttocks – only tense your pelvic muscles.
- Holding your breath – remember to breathe freely.
- Regularly using Kegel exercises to start and stop your urine stream – doing so can actually weaken the muscles and lead to a urinary tract infection due to incomplete emptying of the bladder.
Make pelvic floor exercises a permanent part of your daily routine, and in a few months, you’ll notice less urine leakage.
For more information on overactive bladder and urine leakage, read the Vitals Urge Incontinence Patient Guide.