Kegel Tighten: Introduction to Pelvic Floor Exercises
Pelvic floor muscles are essential for bladder control, sexual function, and overall health. However, pregnancy, childbirth, ageing, and other factors can weaken these muscles. Kegel exercises are a type of pelvic floor muscle training that can help strengthen the muscles responsible for bladder control and enhance sexual function.
Kegels involve contracting and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles. These exercises can improve urinary incontinence and even enhance sexual function. Women who have given birth often experience weakened pelvic floor muscles due to pregnancy and childbirth. Kegels are often recommended to help strengthen these muscles.
Men can also benefit from doing kegel exercises. Urinary incontinence after prostate surgery or as a result of ageing can be improved with regular kegel exercises.
Incorporating kegels into your daily routine is easy and discreet. You can do them anywhere, anytime without anyone knowing! Simply contract your pelvic floor muscles for several seconds before releasing them.
By regularly performing kegel exercises, you will see an improvement in bladder control and sexual function over time. So why not give it a try? Your body will thank you!
Remember that consistency is key when it comes to any exercise routine. Aim to perform kegels at least three times per day for best results.
Don’t let weak pelvic floor muscles hold you back from living your best life! Incorporate kegel exercises into your daily routine today for improved bladder control and enhanced sexual function.
Understanding the Pelvic Floor Muscles in Women and Men
Pelvic floor muscles are a group of muscles that support the pelvic organs, including the bladder, uterus, and rectum. In women, these muscles also support the vagina. Weak pelvic floor muscles can lead to problems like urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, and difficulty with sexual function. Therefore, it is essential to understand these muscles and learn how to engage them correctly.
Both men and women have pelvic floor muscles. However, men’s pelvic floor muscles are different from women’s because they do not support a vaginal opening or childbirth. The male pelvic floor supports the bladder and rectum. Weakness in these muscles can lead to urinary incontinence or fecal incontinence.
Pelvic Floor Exercises
Pelvic floor exercises involve contracting and relaxing the pelvic muscles to strengthen them and improve their function. These exercises are also known as Kegels. To perform Kegels correctly, you must first identify the correct muscles.
To identify your pelvic floor muscles:
- Sit comfortably with your feet on the ground.
- Imagine stopping urination midstream or preventing gas from passing through your anus.
- Squeeze those same muscles for 3 seconds while breathing normally.
- Release for 3 seconds.
- Repeat this exercise ten times.
Once you have identified your pelvic floor muscle group, you can perform Kegel exercises regularly throughout the day by contracting these same muscles for 10 seconds at a time.
Correct Muscle Engagement
It is crucial to engage the correct muscle group when performing Kegel exercises; otherwise, you may not see any improvement in your symptoms or even worsen them. Many people engage other surrounding muscle groups instead of their pelvic floors.
For example, some people may contract their glutes (butt) instead of their pelvic floors when trying to perform Kegels. This mistake can cause more harm than good because it puts unnecessary pressure on the pelvic floor muscles.
To ensure that you are engaging the right muscles, try lying down and placing a hand on your stomach. When you contract your pelvic floor muscles, you should not feel any movement in your abdomen or buttocks.
Engaging in Kegel exercises can improve sexual function by strengthening the pelvic floor muscles. Stronger pelvic floor muscles can lead to more intense orgasms and better control over ejaculation for men.
Women who practice Kegels may experience increased vaginal muscle tone, which can enhance sexual pleasure for both partners. These exercises can also help with postpartum recovery by improving bladder control and reducing the risk of pelvic organ prolapse.
How to Know If Your Pelvic Floor is Strong
Stopping the Flow of Urine Midstream
One way to test your pelvic floor strength is by stopping the flow of urine midstream. This exercise can help you determine if your pelvic floor muscles are strong enough to control urination and bowel movements. To do this exercise, sit on the toilet and start urinating. Then, try to stop the flow of urine midstream by contracting your pelvic muscles. If you can do this easily without tensing your abdominal or buttock muscles, then congratulations! Your pelvic floor is likely strong.
Inserting a Finger into Your Vagina
Another way to test your pelvic floor strength is by inserting a finger into your vagina and squeezing around it. You should feel a tightening and lifting sensation if your pelvic floor muscles are strong enough. This exercise can be done while sitting or lying down, whichever position feels most comfortable for you.
Signs of Weak Pelvic Floor Muscles
Weak pelvic floor muscles can lead to urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence, and pelvic organ prolapse. Signs of weak pelvic floor include leaking urine when coughing or sneezing, feeling like you need to go to the bathroom frequently, and having difficulty controlling bowel movements.
Regularly Doing Kegel Exercises
Regularly doing Kegel exercises can help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and improve bladder control. Kegels involve contracting and relaxing the muscles that form part of the pelvic floor repeatedly. To perform Kegels correctly, squeeze those same muscles you would use to stop yourself from passing gas or urine for three seconds before releasing them for another three seconds.
Benefits of Kegels for Urine and Bowel Control
Improving bowel control is a common concern for many people, especially as they age. The good news is that regular kegel exercises can help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which support the rectum and anus, leading to better bowel control. Here are some benefits of kegels for urine and bowel control:
Reduced Risk of Fecal Incontinence
Fecal incontinence is a condition where a person loses control over their bowel movements, leading to involuntary leakage of stool. This condition can be embarrassing and can greatly affect one’s quality of life. However, regular kegel exercises can help reduce the risk of fecal incontinence by strengthening the pelvic floor muscles.
A study published in the Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy found that women who performed kegel exercises had significant improvements in their ability to hold back gas and stool compared to those who did not exercise their pelvic floor muscles. Similarly, another study published in the journal Gastroenterology found that men with fecal incontinence who performed kegel exercises experienced significant improvements in their symptoms.
Improved Small Intestine Function
The small intestine plays an important role in digestion by absorbing nutrients from food. However, certain conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can lead to dysfunction of the small intestine, causing symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea. Fortunately, regular kegel exercises may help improve small intestine function.
A study published in Neurogastroenterology & Motility found that women with IBS who performed kegel exercises had improved small intestine motility compared to those who did not exercise their pelvic floor muscles. This suggests that strengthening the pelvic floor muscles through kegels may help alleviate symptoms associated with IBS.
Alleviation of Constipation
Constipation is a common problem characterized by difficulty passing stool or infrequent bowel movements. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including poor diet, lack of exercise, and weak pelvic floor muscles. Fortunately, regular kegel exercises may help alleviate constipation.
A study published in the Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility found that women with chronic constipation who performed kegel exercises had improved muscle coordination in the pelvic floor and increased bowel movement regularity compared to those who did not exercise their pelvic floor muscles. This suggests that kegels may be an effective way to promote better bowel movement regularity and alleviate symptoms of constipation.
Improving Bladder Control with Kegels
Doing Kegels: A Simple and Effective Way to Improve Bladder Control
Kegels are a type of exercise that can help improve bladder control and reduce symptoms of urinary incontinence. These exercises involve contracting and holding the muscles that control the flow of urine and passing gas. While it may take a few weeks of practice to see improvements, kegels are recommended by obstetricians as a way to prepare for childbirth and prevent leakage during and after pregnancy.
Practice Makes Perfect
Like any exercise, doing kegels regularly is key to seeing results. It’s important to start slowly, especially if you’re new to this type of exercise. Begin by contracting your pelvic floor muscles for three seconds at a time, then release them for three seconds. Repeat this cycle ten times in a row, three times per day.
As you become more comfortable with this routine, gradually increase the length of time you hold each contraction until you’re able to hold for ten seconds at a time. Remember not to overdo it – just like any muscle group, your pelvic floor muscles need time to rest between workouts.
Adding Weighted Balls
If you’re looking for an extra challenge or want to further strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, consider using kegel exercise toys during your kegel exercises. These small weights come in various sizes and can be inserted into the vagina before beginning your kegel routine.
The added weight provides resistance against which your pelvic floor muscles must work, making them stronger over time. As with any new exercise routine, start slowly when incorporating weighted balls into your kegel practice.
Reducing Urine Leakage
Urinary incontinence affects many people – both men and women – but it doesn’t have to be something you just live with. By practicing kegels regularly, you can strengthen the muscles that control urination and reduce symptoms of leakage or other problems.
Remember that it may take several weeks or even months before you see significant improvements, but don’t give up! With patience and persistence, kegels can be an effective way to improve bladder control and regain confidence in your body’s ability to function properly.
Best Kegel Exercises and Positions
One of the most effective kegel exercises is quick contractions. This exercise involves contracting and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles quickly. Quick contractions are great for strengthening the pelvic floor muscles and improving bladder control. To perform this exercise, contract your pelvic floor muscles as quickly as possible, then relax them just as quickly.
Progressive contractions are another type of kegel exercise that can be highly beneficial. With progressive contractions, you gradually increase the length of time you hold the contraction. Start by contracting your pelvic floor muscles for 2-3 seconds, then relax for 2-3 seconds. Gradually increase the length of time you hold the contraction until you can hold it for 10 seconds or longer.
While kegel exercises can be performed in various positions, standing position is one of the best options if you want to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles while on-the-go. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and contract your pelvic floor muscles for 5 seconds, then relax for 5 seconds. Repeat this cycle 10 times.
If you spend a lot of time sitting down during the day, performing kegel exercises in a sitting position may be more convenient for you. Sit with your back straight and feet flat on the ground. Contract your pelvic floor muscles for 5 seconds, then relax for 5 seconds. Repeat this cycle 10 times.
Lying Down Position
Lying down is another great position to perform kegel exercises in because it allows you to fully relax while exercising your pelvic floor muscles at the same time. Lie down on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Contract your pelvic floor muscles for 5 seconds, then relax for 5 seconds. Repeat this cycle 10 times.
How to Prepare, Insert, and Remove Kegel Balls and Weights
Washing Your Hands and Kegel Balls
Before inserting kegel balls, it is important to wash your hands thoroughly. This ensures that you don’t introduce any bacteria into your vagina, which could cause infections. You should also clean the kegel balls before use. You can do this by washing them with warm water and mild soap.
Applying Lubricant to Kegel Balls
To make insertion easier, apply a water-based lubricant to the kegel balls. This will help them glide smoothly into your vagina without causing any discomfort or pain. It’s important to note that you should never use oil-based lubricants with kegel balls as they can damage the material.
Inserting Kegel Balls Slowly
When inserting the kegel balls, it’s best to take your time and do it slowly. Start by lying down in a comfortable position and spreading your legs apart. Then, gently insert one ball at a time into your vagina until they are both inside. Make sure that they are comfortable and secure before you proceed.
Using Kegel Balls for 15-20 Minutes
Once the kegel balls are inserted, you can start using them for 15-20 minutes at a time. You can gradually increase the time as your pelvic muscles get stronger over time. During this period, try different exercises such as squeezing and releasing your pelvic muscles around the kegel balls.
Removing Kegel Balls Gently
To remove the kegel balls after use, gently pull on the retrieval cord attached to them or use your pelvic muscles to push them out of your vagina slowly but surely. If you experience any discomfort or pain while removing them, stop immediately and seek medical attention if necessary.
Using Vaginal Weights for Kegel Exercises
Vaginal weights have become increasingly popular as a tool for strengthening the pelvic floor muscles through kegel exercises. These small, cone-shaped devices can be used to add resistance to kegel exercises, making them more challenging and effective. In this section, we will discuss the benefits of using vaginal weights for kegel exercises and provide tips on how to use them safely and effectively.
Benefits of Using Vaginal Weights for Kegel Exercises
Using vaginal weights for kegel exercises has many benefits. First and foremost, it is an effective way to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic floor muscles are responsible for supporting the bladder, uterus, and rectum. Weak pelvic floor muscles can lead to urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence, and other issues.
Secondly, using vaginal weights can improve sexual function. Strong pelvic floor muscles can lead to stronger orgasms and increased sexual satisfaction. Using vaginal weights can help women who experience pain during intercourse due to weak pelvic floor muscles.
Finally, using vaginal weights is a non-invasive way to treat urinary incontinence. It is a safe alternative to surgery or medication that can have unwanted side effects.
How to Use Vaginal Weights Safely and Effectively
When using vaginal weights for kegel exercises, it is important to start with lighter weights and progress gradually over time. This will help prevent injury or discomfort during kegel exercises.
To use a vaginal weight or cone:
- Begin by inserting the device into your vagina.
- Contract your pelvic floor muscles around the device.
- Hold the contraction for 5-10 seconds before releasing.
- Repeat this exercise 10-15 times.
- Gradually increase the amount of time you wear the device each day.
It is important to clean your vaginal weight thoroughly before and after use with warm water and soap or a specialized toy cleaner.
Do Kegels Work? How Kegel Weights Work
Kegels are exercises that can strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which can help with bladder control and sexual function. However, some people may find that traditional kegel exercises alone are not enough to get the results they want. This is where kegel weights come in.
What Are Kegel Weights?
Kegel weights are small, weighted devices that can be inserted into the vagina to add resistance to kegel exercises. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but most are designed to be comfortable and easy to use. Some even come with apps or other tools to help you track your progress.
How Do Kegel Weights Work?
Using kegel weights can help to increase the effectiveness of kegel exercises by providing more resistance for the pelvic floor muscles to work against. When you insert a kegel weight into your vagina and contract your pelvic floor muscles around it, you’re essentially doing a “weighted” version of a traditional kegel exercise.
It is important to start with a lighter weight and gradually increase the weight as the pelvic floor muscles become stronger. Using too heavy of a weight too soon can actually do more harm than good, so it’s important to listen to your body and go at your own pace.
Are Kegel Weights Effective?
While kegel exercises and kegel weights can be effective for some people, it is important to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new exercise routine. It’s worth noting that not everyone will see results from using kegel weights – everyone’s body is different, and what works for one person may not work for another.
That being said, there have been studies that suggest that using kegel weights can improve pelvic muscle strength and reduce symptoms of urinary incontinence in women. For example:
- A 2015 study published in Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery found that women who used vaginal weights saw significant improvements in pelvic muscle strength and urinary incontinence symptoms.
- A 2017 study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science found that women who used weighted vaginal cones saw significant improvements in pelvic muscle strength and quality of life.
Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that these studies are not definitive – more research is needed to fully understand the benefits (and potential risks) of using kegel weights.
Common Mistakes When Practicing Kegels
Holding Your Breath While Doing Kegels
One of the common mistakes people make when practicing kegels is holding their breath while doing the exercises. This can actually cause more harm than good, as it puts unnecessary strain on your body and can lead to dizziness or even fainting.
To avoid this mistake, try to focus on breathing deeply and evenly throughout each contraction. Inhale slowly as you relax your muscles, then exhale slowly as you squeeze them. This will help you stay relaxed and in control, while still getting the most out of your kegel exercises.
Squeezing the Wrong Muscles (e.g. Buttocks or Thighs)
Another mistake people often make when practicing kegels is squeezing the wrong muscles. Many people think they are doing kegels correctly when they are actually tightening their buttocks or thighs instead of their pelvic floor muscles.
To avoid this mistake, take some time to locate your pelvic floor muscles before starting your exercises. You can do this by trying to stop the flow of urine midstream – these are the same muscles you will be working during kegels. Once you have located them, try contracting and relaxing them a few times to get a feel for how they work.
Not Fully Relaxing Between Contractions
Another common mistake people make when practicing kegels is not fully relaxing between contractions. This can cause muscle fatigue over time and may even lead to injury if done repeatedly.
To avoid this mistake, be sure to fully relax your pelvic floor muscles between each contraction. Take a few deep breaths and allow yourself to completely release any tension before starting again.
Overdoing It and Causing Muscle Fatigue
While it’s important to be consistent with your kegel exercises, it’s also important not to overdo it and cause muscle fatigue. This can actually weaken your pelvic floor muscles over time rather than strengthening them.
To avoid this mistake, start with just a few repetitions of each exercise and gradually build up over time. Listen to your body and don’t push yourself too hard – it’s better to do a few quality reps than many sloppy ones.
Not Being Consistent with Your Kegel Exercises
Consistency is key but many people make the mistake of not sticking with their routine. This can lead to slower progress and may even cause you to lose the gains you’ve made.
To avoid this mistake, try to incorporate kegels into your daily routine in a way that works for you. Whether it’s doing them during commercial breaks while watching TV or setting aside a specific time each day, find a way to make them a regular part of your life.
Expecting Immediate Results and Not Giving It Enough Time
Finally, one of the biggest mistakes people make when practicing kegels is expecting immediate results and not giving it enough time. Like any exercise program, kegels take time and effort to see real progress.
To avoid this mistake, be patient with yourself and give your body the time it needs to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. Remember that every person is different, so don’t compare yourself to others or get discouraged if you don’t see results right away.
Troubleshooting Kegel Exercises
Identifying the Right Muscles for Kegel Exercises
If you’re having trouble identifying the right muscles to engage during kegel exercises, there’s a simple trick you can try. The next time you go to the bathroom, try stopping urination midstream. The muscles used to do so are the same ones targeted by kegel exercises.
It’s important to note that this should only be done once or twice to help identify the correct muscle group. Continuously stopping and starting urine flow can lead to urinary tract infections and other complications.
Over-Exerting Yourself During Kegel Exercises
If you’re experiencing discomfort or pain while doing kegel exercises, it’s possible you’re over-exerting yourself. It’s important to start with a comfortable number of repetitions and gradually increase over time.
Remember, progress may take time and consistency. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results right away. Stick with your routine for at least a few weeks before reassessing.
Incorporating Kegel Exercises into Your Daily Routine
If you’re finding it difficult to stay motivated to do kegel exercises regularly, try incorporating them into your daily routine. For example, doing them during commercial breaks while watching TV can be an easy way to make sure you’re getting your exercise in without disrupting your day-to-day activities.
Another option is setting reminders on your phone or computer throughout the day as a prompt to do your kegel exercises. This can be especially helpful if you have a busy schedule and tend to forget things easily.
The Importance of Kegel Tighten for Pelvic Health
In conclusion, kegel tightening is an essential aspect of pelvic health for both women and men. The benefits of kegels extend beyond just improving bladder control and can positively impact one’s sex life and overall health. Practicing kegel exercises regularly can help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, leading to improved muscle tone and increased sexual satisfaction.
It is important to note that while kegel exercises are generally safe for most people, it is always best to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise routine. It is crucial to practice proper technique when performing kegels to avoid injury or strain.