Kegel exercises can help you prevent or control urinary incontinence, pelvic floor problems and enhance intimate connections.
Kegel exercises can strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which support the uterus, bladder, small intestine and rectum. You can do Kegel exercises, also known as pelvic floor muscle training, just about anytime.
Understand what Kegel exercises can do, then learn how to contract and relax your pelvic floor muscles.
Why Kegel exercises matter
Pelvic floor muscles can become weekend over time because of factors such as; pregnancy, childbirth, surgery, aging, excessive straining from constipation or chronic coughing, and being overweight.
You might benefit from doing Kegel exercises if you:
- Leak 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.
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.
When to do your Kegel Exercises
Make Kegel exercises part of your daily routine. You can do Kegel exercises discreetly just about anytime, whether you’re sitting at your desk or relaxing on the couch.
When to expect results
If you do Kegel exercises regularly, you can expect results — such as less frequent urine leakage — within about a few weeks to a few months. For continued benefits, make Kegel exercises a permanent part of your daily routine.
Referenced: Mayo Clinic – Women’s health
Kegel Exercises for improved women’s sexual health and pleasure
Women can do Kegel exercises to help improve women’s sexual health and pleasure by:
- Relaxing the vaginal muscles, which allows the vagina to be more open. This is helpful for women who are experiencing pain during sexual intercourse and/or with pelvic exams
- Increasing sexual arousal
- Improving a women’s ability to reach orgasm
- Improving blood circulation to the vagina
- Increasing vaginal tone and lubrication
Referenced: Memorial Sloan Kettering – Women’s health
Kegel Balls (Ben-Wa balls) and Other Intimate Toys Can Add to Exercise And Play
Kegel balls, also known as Ben-Wa balls, are small weighted devices that can be inserted into the vagina to help strengthen a woman’s vaginal and pelvic floor muscles. Many women begin doing kegel exercises without props, then move on to using vaginal balls or cones to increase resistance and make the exercises more challenging. Other women use kegel balls for vaginal stimulation or to increase intimate arousal.
Kegel Ball Use Instructions: livestrong.com use-kegel-balls