Do Your Kegels
Named after creator Arnold Kegel, the Kegel pelvic exercise is all about contracting and then relaxing the muscles of your pelvic floor. Through this simple repetitive tightening and relaxing of these muscles, a woman can improve the tone of her pubococcygeus muscles, located along the length of the pelvic floor. In general, women first learn about Kegel exercises during their first pregnancies.
The exercise is taught as a helpful preparatory measure for pregnant women who will be carrying the considerable weight of a third trimester baby and who will then undergo the stresses of a vaginal birth. The Kegel can also serve as a therapeutic measure in the case where there are prolapses of the pelvic organs, such as the uterus and bladder. In addition to these benefits, Kegel exercises help women who suffer from urinary incontinence. Some proponents of the Kegel exercise insist that the exercise also increases one's sexual pleasure.
Many factors can cause a weakening of a woman's pelvic floor muscles, for instance: obesity, aging, abdominal surgery, pregnancy, and childbirth. A physician can get a good idea of the extent of the weakening of these muscles by placing his fingers into a woman's vagina and having her squeeze and bear down, or through the use of a Kegel perinometer. Whatever the extent or cause of the apparent weakening, the use of the Kegel exercise can help revive pelvic floor muscle strength.
The most common symptom attributed to a weakening of the pelvic floor muscles is urinary incontinence. Today, physicians urge women with this condition to do Kegel exercises as their first line of treatment. The Kegel can be quite effective in helping women with this problem no matter whether they are affected by urge, stress, or mixed urinary incontinence.
To perform the Kegel exercise, begin by finding your pubococcygeus (PC) muscles. The optimal means for doing this is to attempt to stop the flow of urine as you urinate while sitting on the toilet. The muscles you use for stopping the flow of urine are the PC muscles. Now squeeze these muscles as hard as you can, hold for a bit, and then release them. Pay attention to how the muscles feel after you relax them.
Pregnant women are told to practice their Kegel exercises whenever they think about them. The standard method is to squeeze the muscles for a count of 5 seconds and then release. Repeat the steps ten times.