If you experience any amount of urinary leakage, Kegel exercises can help. Kegel exercises help strengthen the pelvic floor—the group of muscles at the base of your pelvis that support organs including the bladder and uterus (or prostate in men). When done correctly, pelvic floor exercises can improve your symptoms.
Where are the Kegel Muscles?
To get started, you will first need to find the right muscles.
Without tensing the muscles of your legs, buttocks, or stomach, squeeze the muscles in your genital area as if you are stopping the flow of urine.
If you find that you’re having trouble locating the proper muscles, talk to your doctor, nurse or physical therapist.
How to Do Kegel Exercises to Strengthen the Pelvic Floor
First, be sure to go to the bathroom before starting to exercise. Exercise is best one after emptying your bladder.
Follow these simple steps:
Step 1: Find the Pelvic Floor Muscles
As in the instructions above, locate your pelvic floor muscles by squeezing the muscles in your genital area. As you develop a regular routine of exercise, this step will get easier.
Step 2: Tighten the Muscles and Hold for 3-5 Seconds
As you practice these exercises, your muscles will get stronger. Over time, you should be able to tighten your muscles for 10 seconds or longer.
Step 3: Relax for 3-5 Seconds
Relax the muscles for 3-5 seconds or for the same amount of time as you tightened your muscles. Breathe normally.
Step 3: Repeat and Create a Routine
Do 5-7 repetitions at a time, 3 times per day. Increase up to 15 repetitions a day, 3 times per day.
Things to remember:
- Only tighten the pelvic floor muscles – not the leg, buttocks or stomach.
- Breathe normally while exercising (breathe in gently through your nose, exhale gently through your nose).
When to Exercise the Kegel Muscles
You can do Kegel exercises anytime – or anywhere. People around you will have no idea that you’re doing them! You can do them sitting, lying, or standing.
To get the most out of the exercise, we recommend setting a routine for yourself so that you remember to exercise daily.
You may also do these exercises when you have incontinence symptoms. If you have a leak on the way to the bathroom, try stopping to exercise your pelvic muscles. And if you leak urine when you have pressure on your bladder (when you do things like cough, laugh, lift something heavy, or run and jump), you can use Kegel exercises to stop the leak. Make a habit of tightening the muscles quickly when these kinds of things happen.
Be Patient: Exercise Takes Time
It takes time to strengthen your muscles. If you follow the above instructions and develop a consistent routine, you should start to see improvement in 4-6 weeks. You may see an even larger difference once you have followed a consistent, daily routine for 3 months.
Talk to a Doctor
If your incontinence symptoms don’t improve, talk to your doctor. To discuss your issues with a Baystate health professional, contact Baystate Urogynecology at 413-794-7045 or find a urogynecology provider.