|Kegel Exercises for Incontinence
How do you do Kegel exercises?
While many doctors prescribe pelvic floor exercises for female incontinence, many don’t offer instructions for performing them correctly. A Kegel contraction uses the muscles of the pelvic floor. In order to isolate the right muscles, clench as though you are stopping the flow of urine. These are the muscles of the pelvic floor.
To perform strengthening contractions, you need to contract only these muscles, not the other muscles in the area. Imagine that you are sitting on a marble and want to pick up the marble with your vagina. Imagine "sucking" the marble into your vagina. Try not to squeeze other muscles at the same time. Be careful not to tighten your stomach, legs, or buttocks. This is the correct way to perform a Kegel contraction.
Be aware that squeezing the wrong muscles can put more pressure on your bladder control muscles. Make an effort to squeeze only the pelvic muscles. Don't hold your breath; continue to breathe deeply in and out. It is important once you isolate the pelvic floor muscles that you do not practice while urinating. This can contribute to more problems with urine leakage, and even cause additional issues.
When first beginning Kegels, find a quiet spot to practice--your bathroom or bedroom--so you can concentrate. Start doing your pelvic muscle exercises while lying down. This is the easiest position because the muscles do not need to work against gravity. Pull in the pelvic muscles and hold for a count of 3. Then relax for a count of 3. Work up to 3 sets of 10 repeats. Be careful not to overdo it. The pelvic floor muscles can get fatigued, just like other muscles. Once you can do 3 sets of 10 repeats, you can begin holding your contraction for longer periods. The goal is to get to a contraction that lasts 10 seconds followed by a release of 10 seconds. When you have achieved this level and your muscles get stronger, begin doing your exercises while 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 notice your bladder control improving for 3 to 6 weeks. Still, most people do notice some improvement after a few weeks.
If you do not feel you are progressing fast enough, ask yourself these questions: Are you doing the Kegels correctly? Are you making any progress? Are you strengthening the right muscles? If you have been taught by a doctor or physical therapist you have a good start and you may need more time to see results. If you are not or if you are unsure if you are doing the exercises correctly, biofeedback units can help. Dr. Kegel himself developed what is now the PFX2™ Pelvic Floor Exerciser to assist women in doing his exercises properly. Since Dr. Kegel work, other researchers have developed a wide range of equipment to assist women in performing the important pelvic floor exercises correctly. Take a look at our large selection of incontinence relief trainers.
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