Doing Kegels can improve the strength of your pelvic muscles and may have other health benefits as well.
What Are Kegel Exercises?
Kegels are a form of exercise that targets the pelvic floor by flexing and releasing those pelvic floor muscles. When you strengthen those muscles, which hold up part of the bladder, uterus, rectum, and small intestine, you can reduce symptoms of incontinence and gain more control over your sexual performance, for both men and women.
These exercises can also prevent fecal incontinence and accidental bladder leakage, particularly when sneezing, coughing or laughing. Although it can take weeks or months to see measurable results from these exercises, they are known to work and are growing in popularity.
How To Do Kegel Exercises?
It is quite easy to do Kegels, although it can be challenging to isolate the muscles when you first begin.
- The best way to find the right muscles is to attempt to stop urinating midstream. The muscles you use to do that are the same muscles you want to focus on during this exercise.
- It can be easy to be distracted and “lose” those muscles during the exercise, so be sure to focus.
- Repeating these exercises 2-3 times a day is a good habit, as the muscles are quite strong and can handle repeated workouts.
- For men, a good way to find the pelvic floor muscles is by clenching the muscles that prevent you from passing gas.
- Once in the morning, once in the afternoon, and once in the evening is an ideal system if you are serious about improving your pelvic floor muscles.
- There are various types of Kegels, as well as different products and tools that can help you strengthen these muscles, including the kegel balls that can be held in the vagina, rubber resistance balls, vaginal weights, and electro-stimulation devices.
- Simply clench and release the muscles 10 times, holding the contraction for ten seconds, then releasing, with 10-second periods of rest in between.
Benefits of Kegels
The top benefits of Kegels include improved sexual function, recovery from pregnancy, and better urinary health, among others.
A pelvic prolapse is when the uterus, bladder, vagina, and rectum are no longer held up properly by the pelvic floor exercises, causing pressure on the vagina, and excess tissue to protrude from that sex organ. Doing these exercises regularly can help regain control of those muscles and eliminate these symptoms.
For women, these exercises can make it easier to achieve orgasm and can make them more powerful, while in men, Kegel exercises can decrease the occurrence of premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction.
By strengthening your bladder’s ability to stay closed, you will be protecting the urethra from unwanted toxins and potential pathogens, such as those that can cause urinary tract infections (UTI).
Doing Kegel exercises can help to prevent internal hemorrhoids from becoming external hemorrhoids, which will decrease the discomfort and instances of bleeding or severe pain.
Following the delivery of a baby, a woman’s vagina may be stretched or loose, but regaining that tightness can be achieved by doing a few months of regular Kegel exercises.
Kegels Side Effects
There are some potential side effects of performing Kegel exercises, including worsening of urinary symptoms if too many Kegels are performed. It can also increase your risk of urinary tract infections (UTI) if the exercises are performed incorrectly, or if your bladder is full when you begin exercising. For men, the risks are similar, and increased incontinence is a risk when too many of these exercises are performed each day.