Weak Pelvic Floor? Add Kegel Exercises to your Fitness Program

Foor to women's bathroomContributed by James Whiteside, MD, MA, FACOG, FACS, Associate Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology

You may have heard of Kegel exercises—the squeezing and releasing of pelvic floor muscles—as a way to treat weak pelvic floor muscles. Did you know that incorporating Kegel exercises into your daily routine can help ward off problems like urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse that can be caused by weak pelvic floor muscles? Kegel exercises can help counteract some of the negative effects pregnancy, childbirth, aging and weight concerns can have on the pelvic floor. But to reap the benefits of Kegel exercises, you must do them correctly.

Check out our list of DO’s and DON’Ts for properly exercising your pelvic floor.

DO…

  • Make sure you are exercising the right muscles. Your doctor or a pelvic floor physical therapist can examine you and confirm that you are using the correct muscles if you’re not sure.
  • Work up to doing 10 contractions in a row, holding each for three to five seconds and relaxing in between.
  • Perform Kegel exercises regularly—about three sets of 10, three to four times per day.
  • Come up with a routine or certain cues to remember to practice your Kegels. For instance, do them after you empty your bladder, at every stoplight while driving, or during TV commercials.

DON’T…

  • Flex the muscles in your abdomen, thighs or buttocks. Try focusing on and contracting only the pelvic floor muscles.
  • Practice Kegels while urinating as this can interfere with proper voiding.
  • Get discouraged. Just keep practicing. As your muscle strength improves, you’ll get better at holding your Kegel contractions.
  • Stop exercising your pelvic floor muscles.

Sometimes, there are fairly simple solutions to strengthen weak pelvic floor muscles. If you have questions, please give us a call at (513) 475-8588. We have experienced providers who can get you on the right path to better health.

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