This information will teach you how to do pelvic floor muscle (Kegel) exercises.
The goal of Kegel exercises is to help you strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, the muscles in your pelvis that support your bladder and bowel (see Figure 1). Strengthening these muscles will help you regain urinary control.
How do I identify my pelvic floor muscles?
- Imagine your bladder is full and there’s no bathroom. The muscle you tighten to prevent urine from leaking is your pelvic floor muscle.
- Tighten the muscles that you use to hold back gas when you don’t want to pass it. The muscle you’re using is your pelvic floor muscle.
- When you pass your first stream of urine in the morning, stop and start the stream. The muscle you’re using 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 Kegel exercises?
Kegel exercises are very easy to do. You can do them anywhere without anyone knowing. To do 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.
- Don’t use your stomach, leg, or buttock muscles when doing this exercise. Exercising these muscles won’t help you regain urinary control.
- Your pelvic floor muscles may get tired during this exercise. If this happens, stop and resume the exercises later.
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. Doing them while standing can be particularly helpful, since that’s the position in which leakage most often occurs.
To keep 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
Can Kegel exercises harm me?
These exercises can’t harm you. Most people find them relaxing and easy. However, using the wrong muscles during Kegel exercises may feel uncomfortable.
- If you get back or stomach pain after doing the exercises, you may be trying too hard and using your stomach or back muscles instead of your pelvic floor muscles.
- If you get a headache after doing the exercises, you may be tensing your chest muscles and holding your breath.
If you have any questions, contact your nurse.Back to top