How to Properly Exercise Your Pelvic Floor Muscles

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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 Kegelssmiling woman and pregnant woman

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.

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The PeriCoach System

 

Once in position, follow these steps:

  • 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.
  • After practicing, do your first set of 10-15 repetitions; contract your muscles and hold for three seconds, then relax for three seconds.
  • Remember to breathe deeply during the exercises, which will help relax involuntary muscles not under your conscious control.
  • 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.

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Some Things to Keep in Mind

  • It’s important to relax the muscles between contractions, especially if you have vaginal tightening or atrophy due to a prolonged period of celibacy or from menopausal changes.
  • Keep your abdominal, thigh, and buttock muscles relaxed while doing pelvic floor exercises, but do contract your anal sphincter muscles during Kegels. To identify your anal sphincter muscles, squeeze your muscles as if you’re trying to stop yourself from passing gas.
  • If using PeriCoach, make sure to place the device, your smartphone (with Bluetooth enabled), and a lubricant within reach. Before using PeriCoach you’ll need to sync the device with your phone. View the PeriCoach user guide for help. The PeriCoach app features pre-programmed exercise regimes that gradually become more challenging as your muscle strength improves.

 

Benefits of Better Pelvic Floor Strength

There are so many benefits to doing Kegels, including less reliance on bulky bladder pads and greater self-confidence. Regardless of your age or stage of life, improving pelvic floor strength can:

  • Reduce or eliminate embarrassing bladder leakage
  • Reduce the likelihood of pelvic organ prolapse (POP)
  • Improve self-confidence
  • Reduce anxiety about being near a bathroom
  • Improve intimacy, sexual satisfaction, and the ability to reach orgasm

Signs of Improvement

At first it might be hard to know whether you’re doing the exercises correctly. Keep at it, and in due time it will become second nature. If you’re having bladder leaks, look for these signs that your pelvic floor muscles are getting stronger:

  • Longer time between bathroom visits
  • Fewer accidents
  • Being able to hold your contractions longer during Kegels
  • Drier underwear/needing to use fewer pads

If you’re not seeing signs of improvement after a couple months, using a biofeedback device like PeriCoach can help. So can physical therapy.

PeriCoach Helps You Target the Correct Muscles

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At least 50% of women don’t correctly contract their pelvic floor muscles with verbal or written instructions alone. PeriCoach can help.

PeriCoach is a vaginally-insertable Kegel exerciser. It has built-in sensors that detect when you squeeze against the device. The sensors send information wirelessly to your smartphone, so you can see your progress in real time! PeriCoach keeps track of your progress over time and helps you make Kegel exercises part of your daily routine.

Learn more about the clinician-recommended PeriCoach system, and hear what real women are saying about how PeriCoach has helped them.