Kegel exercises make your pelvic floor muscles stronger. These muscles control your urine flow and help hold your pelvic organs in place.
Doctors often prescribe Kegels for:
- Stress incontinence. This means leaking urine when you laugh, cough, sneeze, jog, or lift something heavy.
- Urge incontinence. This is a need to urinate that is so strong you can't reach the toilet in time.
- Pelvic floor weakness due to childbirth. Childbirth can stretch and weaken pelvic floor muscles. And that can cause urine control problems. It can also allow one or more pelvic organs to sag. When the uterus sags, it's called uterine prolapse. Women can help prevent this problem by doing daily Kegels during and after pregnancy.
How to do Kegel exercises
Kegels are easy to do and can be done anywhere without anyone knowing.
- Find the muscles you use to stop urinating.
- Squeeze these muscles for 3 seconds. Then relax for 3 seconds. Your stomach and thigh muscles should not tighten when you do this.
- Add 1 second each week until you are able to squeeze for 10 seconds each time.
- Repeat this exercise 10 to 15 times per session. Try to do this at least 3 times a day.
- Don't do Kegels while you urinate. Doing them during urination can hurt your bladder.
Kegels work best when done on a regular schedule.
Your doctor may want you to try doing Kegels with biofeedback. It lets you to see, feel, or hear when an exercise is being done correctly.
Talk to your doctor if you don't notice improvement after doing Kegels for 3 or 4 months.
Current as of: August 22, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Donald Sproule MDCM, CCFP - Family Medicine
Elizabeth T. Russo MD - Internal Medicine