Kegel Exercise Tips
What are Kegel exercises?
To do Kegel exercises, you just squeeze your pelvic floor muscles. The part of your body including your hip bones is the pelvic area. At the bottom of the pelvis, several layers of muscle stretch between your legs. The muscles attach to the front, back, and sides of the pelvic bone.
Kegel exercises are designed to make your pelvic floor muscles stronger. These are the muscles that hold up your bladder and help keep it from leaking.
Building up your pelvic muscles with Kegel exercises can help with your bladder control.
How do you exercise your pelvic muscles?
Find the right muscles. Try one of the following ways to find the right muscles to squeeze.
Imagine that you are trying to stop passing gas. Squeeze the muscles you would use. If you sense a "pulling" feeling, you are squeezing the right muscles for pelvic exercises.
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.
Lie down and put your finger inside your vagina. Squeeze as if you were trying to stop urine from coming out. If you feel tightness on your finger, you are squeezing the right pelvic muscles.
Let your doctor, nurse, or therapist help you. Many people have trouble finding the right muscles. Your doctor, nurse, or therapist can check to make sure you are doing the exercises correctly. You can also exercise by using special weights or biofeedback. Ask your health care team about these exercise aids.
Don't squeeze other muscles at the same time. Be careful not to tighten your stomach, legs, or other muscles. Squeezing the wrong muscles can put more pressure on your bladder control muscles. Just squeeze the pelvic muscle. Don't hold your breath.
Repeat, but don't overdo it. At first, find a quiet spot to practice—your bathroom or bedroom—so you can concentrate. Lie on the floor. Pull in the pelvic muscles and hold for a count of 3. Then relax for a count of 3. Work up to 10 to 15 repeats each time you exercise. Use the Exercise Log below to keep track of your sessions.
Do your pelvic exercises at least three times a day. Every day, use three positions: lying down, sitting, and standing. You can exercise while lying on the floor, sitting at a desk, or standing in the kitchen. Using all three positions makes the muscles strongest.
Be patient. Don't give up. It's just 5 minutes, three times a day. You may not feel your bladder control improve until after 3 to 6 weeks. Still, most women do notice an improvement after a few weeks.
Use this sheet as a master for making copies that you can use to record your exercises week after week.
National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse
The National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NKUDIC) is a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). The NIDDK is part of the National Institutes of Health of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Established in 1987, the Clearinghouse provides information about diseases of the kidneys and urologic system to people with kidney and urologic disorders and to their families, health care professionals, and the public. The NKUDIC answers inquiries, develops and distributes publications, and works closely with professional and patient organizations and Government agencies to coordinate resources about kidney and urologic diseases.
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NIH Publication No. 07–4195
Page last updated March 28, 2012