Benefits of Kegel Exercises

Let’s talk about Kegel exercises and why they’re great for your body! These exercises might sound unfamiliar, but they’re simple movements that offer amazing benefits. Whether you’re aiming to boost bladder control, enhance sexual pleasure, or strengthen your core, Kegel exercises can make a big difference. In this blog, we’ll explore these exercises in detail and uncover all the fantastic advantages they bring to your health and well-being.

What is a Kegel Exercise?

Kegel exercises, also known as pelvic floor exercises, are great for strengthening the muscles that support your bladder, bowel, and vagina in your pelvis. These muscles are important for controlling pee, poop, and during sex. Kegels involve tightening and relaxing these muscles to make them stronger.

Kegels can help with problems like leaking pee, feeling a sudden urge to pee, leaking poop, or pelvic organs sagging into the vagina. They can also improve sexual health and make orgasms better. Both men and women can benefit from doing Kegel exercises.

What do Kegel Exercises Actually do?

Think of Kegel exercises as workouts for your pelvic floor muscles. Just like lifting weights strengthens your arms or legs, Kegels keep your pelvic muscles strong. They help you control when you pee or poop and stop your pelvic muscles from becoming weak.

Weak pelvic muscles can make you leak pee, poop, or even pass gas by accident. This can happen as you get older or after things like pregnancy, giving birth, or surgery.

Who Needs to do kegels?

Anything that stresses the muscles in your pelvic area can make them weaker and less supportive for your pelvic organs. This can happen due to various health conditions or life events:

1. Pregnancy and Childbirth: Being pregnant and going through childbirth, including cesarean sections, can strain and weaken your pelvic floor muscles.

2. Weight: Being obese (with a BMI over 30) or overweight (with a BMI over 25) can also put extra stress on these muscles.

3. Pelvic Surgeries: Any surgeries in your pelvic region can affect the strength of your pelvic floor muscles.

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4. Aging: As you get older, the muscles in your pelvic floor, as well as those in your rectum and anus, naturally become weaker.

5. Straining: Excessive straining during bowel movements (constipation) or persistent coughing can weaken these muscles.

6. Intense Exercises: Activities like jumping, running, and heavy weightlifting can also strain your pelvic floor muscles.

However, it’s important to note that Kegel exercises may not be suitable for everyone. Doing too many Kegels or doing them unnecessarily can lead to overly tense or tight muscles, which can cause problems.

Pregnancy and Kegel Exercises

Pregnant individuals might discover that practicing Kegel exercises during pregnancy can make childbirth smoother. This is because Kegels can enhance control over pelvic muscles during labor and delivery. Additionally, Kegels can provide several benefits:

1. Bladder Control: Kegels can improve bladder control, reducing issues like leaking pee.

2. Supporting Fetal Weight: These exercises strengthen the muscles that support the weight of the growing fetus, potentially easing strain on the pelvic area.

3. Urinary Incontinence: They can also address urinary incontinence, helping to prevent leaks.

4. Pushing during Delivery: Kegels can assist with pushing during vaginal delivery, making the process more manageable.

5. Perineal Healing: After delivery, Kegel exercises can aid in the healing of the perineal area, which is the tissue between the vagina and anus.

By incorporating Kegel exercises into their routine during pregnancy, individuals may experience these advantages, leading to a more comfortable and controlled childbirth experience.

How Do I Find my Pelvic Floor Muscles?

To locate your pelvic floor muscles, you can try these methods:

1. Stopping Urination: While on the toilet, try to briefly stop the flow of urine. However, don’t do this often as it can lead to infections. You can also imagine trying to hold in gas.

2. Using Your Finger: Insert a finger into your vagina and squeeze the muscles around it. You should feel pressure around your finger. These are the muscles you strengthen with Kegel exercises.

To understand the movement of these muscles, think of your pelvic floor like a claw machine game. In the game, a metal claw descends, opens, grabs a prize, and then closes before going back up. This closing and lifting motion is similar to a Kegel exercise.

How do I Perform Kegel Exercises?

Here’s a guide on how to do Kegel exercises:

1. Begin by lifting and holding, then relaxing your pelvic floor muscles. Start with a few Kegels at a time and gradually increase both the duration and number of Kegels in each session.

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2. Aim for at least two to three sets of these exercises per day.

3. Follow these steps:

   a. Locate your pelvic floor muscles.

   b. Tighten your pelvic floor muscles for three seconds, then relax for three seconds (one Kegel). Aim for 10 repetitions per set. If 10 is too challenging, start with five and progress as you get stronger.

   c. Do one set in the morning and one at night.

4. Increase the duration of each Kegel as you gain strength. For example, progress from three seconds to five seconds for both tightening and relaxing.

5. Increase the number of consecutive Kegels to 10 per set.

6. Gradually increase the frequency to three sets per day.

7. Aim to reach 10 Kegels per set (holding and relaxing for five seconds each) and perform three sets per day as your ultimate goal.

Remember, consistency and gradual progression are key to effectively strengthening your pelvic floor muscles with Kegel exercises.

How do you Know if you are Doing Kegels Correctly?

Kegel exercises should not cause pain. If you experience discomfort in your stomach, lower back, or head after doing Kegels, you might be holding your breath or engaging the wrong muscles. 

If you’re having difficulty locating your pelvic floor muscles or are in pain, it’s important to seek guidance from a healthcare professional.

When done correctly, Kegels should lead to gradual improvement over several weeks. For instance, you may notice a reduction in urinary leakage.

Signs of a strong pelvic floor include:

  • Rare or no urinary or bowel accidents.
  • Reduced urge to urinate or defecate frequently.
  • Feeling in control of your bladder and bowel functions.
  • Ease in performing Kegel exercises.

How Hard Should I Squeeze for Kegels?

To perform Kegel exercises effectively:

  • Tighten your pelvic floor muscles enough to feel them working without engaging muscles in your inner thighs, back, buttocks, or stomach. Avoid squeezing so hard that you hold your breath; maintain a normal breathing pattern.
  • You can do Kegels while lying down, sitting, or standing. If your pelvic muscles are weak, start with lying down exercises.
  • Begin with a manageable number of Kegels, such as five held for three seconds each, twice a day. Gradually increase the duration and repetitions as you get stronger.
  • Aim to hold your Kegels for five seconds and then relax for five seconds, repeating this up to 10 times, two or three times a day.
  • There’s no single “best” Kegel exercise; all are beneficial if done correctly. Focus on squeezing and lifting as if picking something up with your pelvic floor muscles. Choose a position that feels comfortable for you—sitting, standing, or lying down.
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Why am I having Trouble doing Kegel Exercises?

If you’re having difficulty with Kegel exercises, a healthcare provider might recommend biofeedback training and electrical stimulation of your pelvic floor muscles.

  • Biofeedback involves inserting a probe into your vagina to monitor muscle activity during Kegels. This helps determine if you’re engaging the correct muscles.
  • Electrical stimulation mimics the sensation of a Kegel by sending a small electric current into your pelvic floor muscles, prompting them to contract.

Don’t hesitate to seek guidance from a healthcare provider if you’re struggling with Kegels or unsure about using the correct muscles. They are there to assist you.

Can Men do Kegel Exercises?

Kegel exercises are not exclusive to women; men or individuals assigned male at birth (AMAB) with specific health and sexual health issues can also benefit from them. Here’s how:

  • They can help improve incontinence, depending on its underlying cause.
  • Kegels can aid in managing prostate pain and swelling associated with conditions like prostatitis and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
  • These exercises may enhance sexual pleasure by assisting with erections and ejaculation.

Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles through Kegels is beneficial for various reasons, such as addressing symptoms like urinary or fecal leakage and the sensation of needing to urinate unnecessarily. Gradually increase the frequency of Kegel exercises throughout the day. If you’re unsure about Kegels or if you’re performing them correctly, don’t hesitate to seek guidance from a healthcare provider. They can offer valuable assistance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What do Kegel exercises help with?

A1: Kegel exercises primarily help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which can improve bladder control, support pelvic organs, and enhance sexual function.

Q2: Do Kegels improve size?

A2: Kegel exercises don’t directly affect the size of genitalia or muscles. They primarily strengthen pelvic floor muscles, which can indirectly improve sexual function and potentially enhance sensations, but they don’t change physical dimensions.

Q3: What is Kegel exercise advantage?

A3: The main advantage of Kegel exercises is that they help improve pelvic floor strength, which can lead to better bladder control, support for pelvic organs, enhanced sexual function, and potentially faster recovery from childbirth.