If you’ve ever leaked urine while laughing at a joke or doing squats at the gym, you’re not alone. One in three women suffers from urinary incontinence. Many more cases likely go unreported, according to Missy Lavender, Founder and CEO of Women’s Health Foundation.

Whether you leak a few drops every now and then or a steady stream every time you cough, laugh, or sneeze, bladder leakage is uncomfortable and embarrassing.

The good news is that it’s possible to reduce or even eliminate the symptoms of urinary incontinence (UI) by doing Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor.

Getting UI under control is just one of the many benefits of doing Kegels. Strong pelvic floor muscles can also help improve sexual arousal and help you have longer, stronger orgasms.

Let’s learn more about Kegels and how to do them.

What Are Kegel Exercises?

Kegels are simple contract-and-release exercises. They can help you build a stronger pelvic floor, which is the system of muscles, ligaments, and connective tissues that support the bladder, bowel, and uterus.

Why Women Should Do Kegels

The stress and strain of pregnancy and childbirth can weaken the pelvic floor. So can hormonal changes during menopause. Weak muscles can lead to problems like pelvic organ prolapse, which is when an organ, like the bladder, drops from its normal position in the pelvis. This can lead to issues like urine leakage.

It’s never too early for women to start doing Kegels. Keeping your muscles strong can help prevent problems down the line.

How to Properly Do Kegel Exercises

First, identify the right muscles by stopping urination midstream; if you stop your urine successfully, you’ve identified your pelvic floor muscles (note: Don’t stop urination midstream to do Kegels; repeatedly stopping and starting the flow of urine can cause a urinary tract infection).

You can do Kegel exercises sitting down, standing, or lying down. We recommend lying down, because it puts less pressure on your pelvic floor and allows you to use an assistive device, like the PeriCoach Kegel exerciser. If you do Kegels lying down, bend your knees with feet flat on the floor.

Once in position, follow these steps:

  1. First, practice contracting and relaxing your pelvic floor muscles a few times. As you contract, you should feel a lifting sensation in your pelvic muscles. Hold for three seconds, then relax for a count of three.
  2. After practising, do your first set of 10-15 repetitions; contract your muscles and hold for three seconds, then relax for three seconds.
  3. Remember to breathe deeply during the exercises, which will help relax involuntary muscles not under your conscious control.
  4. Aim for three sets of 10-15 repetitions per day.

Day by day, work your way up to keeping your muscles contracted for 10 seconds and relaxing for 10 seconds. Start with three seconds, then five, then seven, and so on.