This information will teach you how to do pelvic floor muscle (Kegel) exercises to help you regain urinary control.
How do I identify my pelvic floor muscles?
There are several ways you can identify your pelvic floor muscles:
- Imagine your bladder is full and there is no bathroom. The muscle you tighten to prevent leakage is your pelvic floor muscle.
- Tighten the muscles that you use to hold back gas when you don't want to pass it.
- When you pass your first stream of urine in the morning, stop and start the stream. The muscle you are using to stop and start it is your pelvic floor muscle. Only do this in the morning; starting and stopping your urine stream every time you urinate can be harmful.
How do I perform pelvic floor muscle (Kegel) exercises?
Hold your pelvic floor muscle in for 10 seconds, then slowly and completely relax for 10 seconds.
- Repeat this process 10 times at least 3 times every day.
- Do this exercise in different positions, including sitting, standing, and lying.
- Do not use your stomach, leg, or buttock muscles when doing this exercise. Exercising these muscles will not help you regain urinary control.
- Your pelvic floor muscles may get tired during this exercise. If this happens, stop, then resume the exercises later.
Kegel exercises are very easy to do. You can do them anywhere without anyone knowing.
When should I do Kegel exercises?
Most people prefer doing Kegel exercises while lying down on a bed or sitting in a chair. However, you should be able to do them in any position.
To avoid your urine from leaking, tighten your pelvic floor muscles:
- Before you walk
- Before you sneeze or cough
- On your way to the bathroom
- When you move from sitting to standing
Do not perform Kegel exercises while your urinary (Foley®) catheter is in place.
Can Kegel exercises harm me?
These exercises cannot harm you. Most people find them relaxing and easy. If you get back or stomach pain after you do the exercises, you are probably trying too hard and using your stomach or back muscles instead of your pelvic floor muscles.
If you are getting headaches after doing the exercises, you may be tensing your chest muscles and holding your breath.
If you have any questions, please contact your nurse.