Why You Need Kegel Exercises
Vaginal childbirth is one of the most common factors responsible for the weakening of the hammock of muscles that support the internal organs in your pelvis. This is the pubococcygeus muscle that supports the pelvic organs. Apart from medical treatment doctors usually recommend exercises. These exercises, when performed regularly help to enhance the strength of pelvic floor muscles and increase the efficiency of the related parts. This too is one of the important benefits of Kegel exercises.
Over time, weakness develops in the pelvic floor muscles due to normal wear and tear and childbirth. The bladder, uterus and rectum begin to slip down and get squeezed into the lower regions of the pelvis. Stress incontinence may develop (urine is released during lifting, sneezing or exercising). Performing Kegel exercises can help many women relieve these symptoms.
Reduced Risk of Fecal Incontinence.
This is a condition that causes you to leak stool before you make it to the bathroom. Kegels can help strengthen the rectal muscles to help prevent this.
Kegel exercises are simple clench-and-release exercises that you can do to make the muscles of your pelvic floor stronger. Your pelvis is the area between your hips that holds your reproductive organs.
Firmly tense your pelvic floor muscles. Then, release very slowly, one “floor” at a time. Try it at frequent intervals for 5 seconds at a time, four or five times in a row. Work up to keeping the muscles contracted for 10 seconds at a time, relaxing for 10 seconds between contractions.
Weighted vaginal cones can be used to help strengthen the pelvic muscle. The cones come in a set of 5 that vary in weight. The tapered end of the cone is inserted into the vagina and the pelvic muscle is contracted to try and hold it in, so that it does not slip out of the vagina. As the muscles get stronger, you progress to a heavier cone.
Chart your progress on a daily or weekly basis. If you were leaking urine before, you should begin to notice that you are leaking urine less frequently or in smaller amounts.
You can do the Kegel exercises lying down or while sitting or standing. If your pelvic muscles are weak, you may want to do them laying down at first. A few minutes in the morning and again before bedtime are good times to start the exercise program.
Do your Kegels as often as you can. The more you do them, the faster you’ll feel the results. You can even practice standing in line or in a queue. No one will know.
What Not To Contract
There are certain muscles that you don’t want to contract while doing Kegel exercises. Your abdomen, thighs and buttocks should be relaxed. If they aren’t, they may feel uncomfortable when doing these exercises and you may not be working the muscles you want.
Keep other muscles relaxed. When doing pelvic floor exercises, don’t contract your abdominal, leg, or buttock muscles or lift your pelvis. Place a hand gently on your belly to detect unwanted abdominal action.
Imagine that your pelvic floor is a lift. Draw up the muscle and pause at each ‘floor’ going up and then go down again. Go down to the basement to reach the lowest point before returning to the normal position at ‘ground floor’ level.