Kegel Exercises in Homewood, AL
What Are Kegels?
Kegel exercises, also referred to as pelvic floor muscle training, are a specific type of exercise that strengthen the pelvic floor muscles to provide better support to the bladder, bowel, and uterus in women. Kegels are commonly recommended to both men and women who experience issues related to bowel and bladder control, helping to regain muscle tone and prevent or prolong the need for corrective surgery.
Kegel exercises can be completed anytime, anywhere, and are easy to do once the proper form is learned. If you experience issues related to controlling your bladder and bowel movements or would like to implement exercises which can prevent these issues from occurring, contact a healthcare practitioner in Homewood who can discuss the benefits of Kegel exercises with you. Call (334) 781-7319 or contact Dr. Ryan McWhorter online.
What Are Pelvic Floor Muscles?
The pelvic floor muscles are a thick, firm layer of muscles that stretch across the tailbone to the pubic bone and across from one sitting bone to the other (left to right). Their role is to provide support to your internal pelvic organs—the bladder, bowel, and uterus in women. The pelvic floor includes holes for passages to come through, including the urethra, vagina, and anus. When the pelvic floor muscles are thick and firm, they wrap tightly across the holes or sphincters to keep the passages closed.
Under healthy conditions, we have conscious control over the bowel and bladder sphincters allowing for the controlled release of urine, stools, and flatus (wind). When we hold our urine or stools, the pelvic floor muscles are contracted, and the internal organs tighten the opening of the urethra or anus. When we are ready to empty, relaxation of the pelvic floor occurs allowing for the release of urine or feces.
The pelvic floor muscles are also important for sexual function in women—voluntary contractions or squeezing of the pelvic floor can contribute to sexual sensation and arousal. In pregnancy and childbirth, pelvic floor muscles provide support for the baby and play a major role in the childbirth process.
Pelvic floor muscles are prone to weakening, particularly due to pregnancy, childbirth, aging, obesity, surgery, chronic coughing, heavy lifting, and chronic constipation. When weakness occurs, the organs are not properly supported, leading to difficulty controlling the release of urine and stools (stress or urge incontinence).
The Benefits of Kegel Exercises for Women
Kegel exercises for women are particularly beneficial for those who suffer from:
- Stress Incontinence: The release of urine after sneezing, laughing, coughing, or lifting something heavy
- Urge Incontinence: The sudden but strong need to urinate, leading to urinary leakage
- Fecal Incontinence: The inability to control bowel movements, causing leakage of stool from the rectum
Kegel exercises for pregnancy or after childbirth are also particularly helpful for women who want to prevent stress incontinence, a problem that affects up to two-thirds of women during and after pregnancy. Kegel exercises are also recommended by the American Pregnancy Association to help promote perineal healing or postpartum tears.
How to Do Kegels
The first step to completing Kegels is to find your pelvic floor muscles. Many women locate these muscles by stopping urine mid-flow; these are the muscles you will isolate during your pelvic floor exercises.
When first beginning Kegel exercise, find a quiet place to sit or lie down. In time, you will find that Kegel exercises can be done anywhere. As you are sitting comfortably or lying down on the floor, you tighten your pelvic floor muscles for five seconds then relax for five seconds. This should be done for a total of ten repetitions. Over the next several days you can practice on increasing the time that you tighten these muscles working up from five seconds to a total of ten seconds (followed by relaxing the muscles for ten seconds). The overall goal is to do three sets of ten (ten seconds) repetitions each day.
Helpful Kegel Exercise Tips
Kegel exercises during urination can increase the risk of getting a bladder infection; make sure to only do your exercises on an empty bladder.
While doing the Kegel exercises be sure to avoid flexing the muscles in the abdomen, thighs, and buttocks as this shifts the focus to the wrong muscles. Be sure to breathe freely during your Kegel workout. In time, you will find that these exercises are easy and can be done anywhere and at any time.
Kegel exercises work differently for each person, and the results may vary. For some women, it may take a few months before an effect on urinary incontinence is observed. It is important to continue doing Kegel exercises as they can prevent conditions such as stress and urinary incontinence from getting worse. However, there is no need to overdo it; overworking your muscles may prevent them from carrying out their necessary duties.
To speak with a healthcare provider in Homewood that specializes in pelvic floor muscle training such as Kegel exercise, call (334) 781-7319 or contact Dr. Ryan McWhorter online.
Alabama Functional Medicine
Address7040 Sydney Curve
Montgomery, AL 36117
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tue: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Wed: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thu: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Fri: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm