Kegal Exercises

Pelvic muscle exercises (Kegel) are used to strengthen or retrain the nerves and muscles of the pelvic floor. Regular daily exercising of the pelvic muscles can improve and even prevent urinary incontinence. It is recommended that you do 4 to 8 sets of 10 squeezes over the course of each day. You may have to keep at it for several weeks before you may notice any difference. Over a period of time, your pelvic muscles will strengthen and your symptoms of urgency or frequency may decrease.

Helpful Instructions for Doing Kegal Exercises

  • Try to stop your urinary stream.  If you succeed then you have identified the right muscles to exercise.  This is a learning tool.  Do not stop your urine frequently as there is concern that this may create problems with emptying your bladder.
  • Imagine you are going to pass gas, then, squeeze the muscles that would prevent that gas from escaping from your rectum.  Exercising the muscles around the rectum will also strengthen those around the vagina and under the bladder.
  • Use a hand mirror to look at your vaginal opening and the perineum (the muscle wall between the vagina and rectum).  You should see the perineum lift up when you contract your pelvic muscles.
  • While lying or sitting, place one finger inside your vagina.  Squeeze as if you were trying to stop urine from coming out.  You should feel your finger lifted and squeezed if you are correctly contracting your pelvic muscles.
  • Do not hold your breath while exercising.
  • Remember not to tighten your stomach and back muscles or squeeze your legs together.  These should be relaxed as you isolate and contract just your pelvic muscles.

Recommended Routine

  • Start by pulling in and holding a pelvic muscle squeeze for 3 seconds then relax for 3 seconds.
  • Do this for 10 repetitions three times a day.
  • Increase your contraction hold by 1 second each week until you are contracting for a 10 second squeeze.
  • Remember to rest and breathe between contractions.

When you start, do the exercises while lying down.  As you get stronger, do an exercise set sitting and standing.