Kegel exercises are named after Arnold Kegel, an OBGYN who first published their benefits in 1948.
Pelvic floor exercise is also known as kegel exercise.The main role is of pelvic muscle i.e. kegel muscle. Kegel is an Exercise designed to help in strengthening the muscle in the pelvic region through muscle contraction, it helps in preventing problems such as incontinence and prolapsed uterus.
In simple words, the pelvic floor is a group of muscles that support your anus, uterus, bladder (i.e. entire neither region), and any loss in its strength may leave you with a leaky bladder, loose VJJ, and a prolapsed anus…
Where do we Find our pelvic floor muscles?
These are muscles which you feel when you try to stop your urine sometimes when you are unable to go to the toilet.
It is very harmful if you stop your urine flow regularly, it affects your bladder.
Thus this exercise must be performed with your bladder empty.
The four functions of the pelvic floor are
1.Sphincteric: Controls Sphincter
What do we know about pelvic floor exercises?
The exercise which strengthens your muscles around bladder, vagina or penis, and anal i.e. back passage.It is helpful in the treatment of prolapse and stopping incontinence.
This exercise is beneficial both for men and women.
Steps to perform Pelvic floor exercises?
- While starting initially, you should find a space where you may be able to concentrate well.As you continue you may perform it anywhere.
- Initially start with tensing the muscle in your Pelvic floor and count 3 after it, then relax.Repeat it for 10 reputations or sit comfortably and squeeze the muscle 10 to 15 times one after another, it is beneficial for strengthening your Pelvic floor muscles.
- Breath comfortably and do not tighten your stomach, hip or thigh muscles.
- After some days when you become used to this exercise, you can try and hold each squeeze for some seconds more.
- Your goal must be to complete 3 sets of 10 reputations every day. i.e. You can add more squeezes Every week, but don’t overload yourself and take rest in between each set of squeezes.
- If you don’t get Results soon in few months. Don’t be discouraged.You shouldn’t stop doing the exercises if you notice them starting to work.
- According to Mayo clinic, Kegel exercise may take few months.
- This may have a different effect on different people. Some people may show improvement in muscle control and urine continence.
Pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy.
You can start doing this exercise if you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant. After having your baby this exercise lowers the risk of incontinence.
Benefits of Pelvic Floor Exercises.
- It Improves flexibility.
- Helps in relieving back pain.
- Strengthen Pelvic floor.
- Also Improves labor stamina.
- It Relaxes and unwinds muscles.
- Strengthens Pubococcygeus muscles(PC muscles).
- Improves sexual response and function.
- Increase blood flow and nerve supply to the pelvic region.
- Recover from the physical stress of childbirth.
- Restoration of vaginal muscles tone and improved vaginal health.
- Increase the thickness of vaginal Wall and lubrication after menopause.
- Preventing and treatment of urinary stress incontinence.
What does the research say?
There was a study (Link Here) that investigated effects of pelvic floor muscle training on bladder incontinence. Basically what they did was, they divided 107 women participants with urinary incontinence (leaky bladder) into 4 groups, pelvic floor exercise group, electrical stimulation group, vaginal cones group and a control group (no treatment). All groups received their respective therapies plus they all participated in group exercises. In the end, improvement in muscle strength was significantly greater in the pelvic floor exercise group.
Conclusion: pelvic floor muscles training is superior to electrical stimulation and vaginal cones in the treatment of leaky bladder.
This is promising. Though many a healthcare professionals stress the importance of being overall fit over just exercising the pelvic floor.
A word of Caution though…
- If pain persists in your stomach or back after this Exercise, it indicates that you are not performing it correctly.
- It is important to remember that when you contract your pelvic floor muscles — the muscles in your stomach, back, hips and sides should not be tightened.
- Last but not the least, do not burden yourself. By doing so muscles become tired and unable to fulfill their necessary functions.
A dietitian with more than 4 years of professional experience, Huma is a Nutrition and Food Science Grad who is currently pursuing her Msc in Dietitics and food Service Management.