Some conditions may feel too embarrassing to discuss with your doctor and weak pelvic floor muscles can cause such conditions:
- trouble with bladder or bowel control
- urine or faeces can leak out when you cough, sneeze, laugh, or exert yourself in any way
- frequent and or sudden urination, passing wind / bowel movements.
Continue reading if you want power in your pelvis
Pelvic Floor 101
- The pelvic floor is really a series of muscles and tissues that forms a sling, or hammock, at the bottom of your pelvis.
- This sling holds your organs in place.
- A weak pelvic floor may lead to issues such as the inability to control your bowels or bladder.
- Once you understand Kegel exercises, you can do them anytime and anywhere — in the privacy of your own home or while waiting in line at the bank.
- Both women and men will benefit from Kegel exercises.
- Are exercises to strengthen vaginal and pelvic floor muscles, which support the uterus, bladder, small intestine and rectum.
- Also known as pelvic floor muscle training
- Are simple clench-and-release exercises to make the muscles of your pelvic floor stronger.
- Do anytime throughout the day, such as when you are standing at the kitchen sink, giving a presentation, waiting for the bus, etc.
Many factors can weaken your pelvic floor muscles
- Excessive straining from constipation
- Chronic coughing
- Being overweight
- Prostate surgery
Who need Kegel exercises? – you if you suffer with
- Stress incontinence – leaking a few drops of urine while sneezing, laughing or coughing
- Urinary urge incontinence – sudden, strong urge to urinate
- Faecal incontinence – leaky stool
Kegel exercises are less helpful if you suffer with
- Severe urine leakage when you sneeze, cough or laugh
- Unexpected leakage of small amounts of urine due to a full bladder – called overflow incontinence.
How to do Kegel exercises
- First – find the right muscles
- stopping urination in midstream
- women by placing a clean finger inside your vagina (or rectum) and tightening your vaginal / rectal muscles around your finger
- men by placing a clean finger inside your rectum and tightening your rectal muscles around your finger
- get used to how they feel when they contract and relax.
- Once you’ve identified your pelvic floor muscles you can do the exercises in any position, although you might find it easiest to do them lying down at first.
- Perfect your technique.
- Imagine you are sitting on a marble and tighten your pelvic muscles as if you’re lifting the marble.
- tense the muscles in your pelvic floor for a count of 3, then relax them for 3 – repeat 10 times
- Increase gradually until you can hold your muscles tense for a count of 10.
- Your goal is to do 3 sets of 10 repetitions every day.
- For best results
- Focus on tightening only your pelvic floor muscles.
- Be careful not to tighten the muscles in your abdomen, thighs or buttocks.
- Avoid holding your breath
- Breathe freely during the exercise
- Aim for at least 3 sets of 10 repetitions per day
- Consider vaginal weighted jade eggs which you insert into your vagina using pelvic and vaginal muscle contractions to hold it in place during your daily activities
- Make Kegel exercises part of your daily routine, discrete and just about any time, whether you’re sitting at your desk or relaxing on the couch, standing in the queue at the supermarket etc.
- Consider biofeedback, where your doctor or therapist inserts a pressure sensor into your vagina (or rectum), which measures and displays your pelvic floor strength and activity
NB! Don’t make a habit of using Kegel exercises to stop your urine stream, as this can lead to incomplete emptying of the bladder, which increases the risk of a urinary tract infection.
NB! Don’t overdo your Kegel exercises. If you work the muscles too hard, they’ll become tired and unable to fulfil their necessary functions
What to Expect and When
- Less frequent urine leakage
- Within a few weeks to a few months.
- For continued benefits, make Kegel exercises a permanent part of your daily routine.
- Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see the results you want immediately.
- They work differently for each person, some quickly show great improvement in muscle control and urinary continence.
- At the very least Kegel exercises prevent your condition from getting worse.