Patient Education

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Kegel Exercises

Overview

Kegel exercises make your pelvic floor muscles stronger. These muscles control your urine flow and help hold your pelvic organs in place.

Doctors often prescribe Kegels for:

  • Stress incontinence.
    • This means leaking urine when you laugh, cough, sneeze, jog, or lift something heavy.
  • Urge incontinence.
    • This is a need to urinate that is so strong you can't reach the toilet in time.
  • Pelvic floor weakness.
    • Age, being overweight, pregnancy, childbirth, and surgery are all things that can weaken pelvic floor muscles. And that can cause urine control problems. It can also result in uterine prolapse. Doing daily Kegels during and after pregnancy may prevent or help treat prolapse.

How to do Kegel exercises

Kegels are easy to do and can be done anywhere without anyone knowing.

  1. Squeeze your muscles as if you were trying not to pass gas. Or squeeze your muscles as if you were stopping the flow of urine.
  2. Hold the squeeze for 3 seconds. Then relax for 5 to 10 seconds.

    Your belly, legs, and buttocks shouldn't move.

  3. Add 1 second each week until you are able to squeeze for 10 seconds each time.
  4. Repeat this exercise 10 times per session.

    Try to do 3 to 8 sessions a day.

    If doing these exercises causes pain, stop doing them and talk with your doctor.

  5. Don't make it a practice to do Kegels while urinating.

    Over time, doing this could hurt your bladder.

Kegels work best when done on a regular schedule.

Your doctor may want you to try doing Kegels with biofeedback. It lets you to see, feel, or hear when an exercise is being done correctly.

Credits

Current as of: March 9, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Elizabeth T. Russo MD - Internal Medicine

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