Augusta Healthcare for Women

Urinary Incontinence

Kegel Exercises for Women

Kegel exercise involve repeatedly contracting and relaxing the muscles that form the pelvic floor, including the pubococcygeus muscles.

These "pelvic floor exercises" should be performed multiple times each day to build muscle tone and strength.

Kegel exercise may be recommended for women in the following circumstances:

  • to prepare pregnant women for vaginal childbirth
  • for the prevention of vaginal and uterine prolapse
  • for the treatment of urinary incontinence

Performing Kegel Exercise

Kegel Exercises for Pelvic Muscles

Diagram: The bladder on the left has weak pelvic muscles that fail to keep the urethra closed, so urine escapes. The bladder neck, weak pelvic  The bladder on the right has strong pelvic muscles that keep the urethra closed, so no urine can escape.

Pelvic floor muscles are involved in "holding in" urine or stool. Reproducing these actions can result in stronger pelvic floor muscles.

The first step is to find the right muscles. One way to find them is to imagine holding in urine or tighten the area around the opening of the vagina.

Try not to squeeze other muscles at the same time. Be careful not to tighten your stomach, legs, or buttocks. Squeezing the wrong muscles can put more pressure on your bladder control muscles. Just squeeze the pelvic muscles and keep breathing.

Repeat, but don't overdo it. At first, find a quiet spot to practice-your bathroom or bedroom-so you can concentrate. Pull in the pelvic muscles and hold for a count of three. Then relax for a count of three. Work up to three sets of 10 repeats.

Start doing your pelvic muscle exercises lying down. This is the easiest position to do them in because the muscles do not need to work against gravity. When your muscles get stronger, do your exercises sitting or standing. Working against gravity is like adding more weight.

Be patient. Don't give up. It takes just 5 minutes a day. You may not feel your bladder control improve for 3 to 6 weeks. Still, most people do notice an improvement after a few weeks.

Ask your doctor or healthcare provider if you are not sure if you are performing the exercises correctly.

Reference: National Kidney and Urologic Disease Information Clearinghouse (NKUDIC)