Other name: Pelvic floor exercise
Kegel exercise, consists of repeatedly contracting and relaxing the muscles that form part of the pelvic floor, now sometimes colloquially referred to as the “Kegel muscles“. The exercise needs to be performed multiple times each day, for several minutes at a time, for one to three months, to begin to have an effect.
Exercises are usually done to reduce urinary stress incontinence (especially after childbirth) and reduce premature ejaculatory occurrences in men, as well as to increase the size and intensity of erections.
Several tools exist to help with these exercises, although various studies debate the relative effectiveness of different tools versus traditional exercises.
They were first described in 1948 by Arnold Kegel.
Health effects for women:
Factors such as pregnancy, childbirth, aging, being overweight, and abdominal surgery such as cesarean section, often result in the weakening of the pelvic muscles. This can be assessed by either digital examination of vaginal pressure or using a Kegel perineometer. Kegel exercises are useful in regaining pelvic floor muscle strength in such cases.
Pelvic floor exercise is the recommended first-line conservative treatment for women with urinary incontinence of the stress, urge, or mixed types. There is tentative evidence that biofeedback may give added benefit when used with pelvic floor muscle training.
The symptoms of prolapse and its severity can be decreased with pelvic floor exercises. Effectiveness can be improved with feedback on how to do the exercises.
In 1952, Dr. Kegel published a report in which he stated that the women doing this exercise were attaining orgasm more easily, more frequently and more intensely: “it has been found that dysfunction of the pubococcygeus exists in many women complaining of lack of vaginal feeling during coitus and that in these cases sexual appreciation can be increased by restoring function of the pubococcygeus”.
Direct benefits of Kegel Exercise for woman:
*Leaks a few drops of urine while sneezing, laughing or coughing (stress incontinence)
*Have a strong, sudden urge to urinate just before losing a large amount of urine (urinary incontinence)
*Leak stool (fecal incontinence)
Kegel exercises can be done during pregnancy or after childbirth to try to prevent urinary incontinence.
One should keep in mind that Kegel exercises are less helpful for women who have severe urine leakage when they sneeze, cough or laugh. Also, Kegel exercises aren’t helpful for women who unexpectedly leak small amounts of urine due to a full bladder (overflow incontinence).
Health effects for men:
Though most commonly used by women, men can also use Kegel exercises. Kegel exercises are employed to strengthen the pubococcygeal muscle and other muscles of the pelvic diaphragm. Kegels can help men achieve stronger erections, maintain healthy hips, and gain greater control over ejaculation. The objective of this may be similar to that of the exercise in women with weakened pelvic floor: to increase bladder and bowel control and sexual function.
After a prostatectomy there is no clear evidence that teaching pelvic floor exercises alters the risk of urinary incontinence (leakage of urine).
A paper found that pelvic floor exercises could help restore erectile function in men with erectile dysfunction. There are said to be significant benefits for the problem of premature ejaculation from having more muscular control of the pelvis
How to do Kegel exercises
To get started:
*Find the right muscles. To identify your pelvic floor muscles, stop urination in midstream. If you succeed, you’ve got the right muscles. 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. Tighten your pelvic floor muscles, hold the contraction for five seconds, and then relax for five seconds. Try it 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.
Maintain your focus. For best results, focus on tightening only your pelvic floor muscles. Be careful not to flex the muscles in your abdomen, thighs or buttocks. Avoid holding your breath. Instead, breathe freely during the exercises.
*Repeat three times a day. Aim for at least three sets of 10 repetitions a day.
Don’t make a habit of using Kegel exercises to start and stop your urine stream. Doing Kegel exercises while emptying your bladder can actually lead to incomplete emptying of the bladder — which increases the risk of a urinary tract infection.
Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.