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Kegel Exercises for Women
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
What are Kegel exercises?
Kegel exercises help strengthen your pelvic muscles. Pelvic muscles hold your pelvic organs, such as your bladder and uterus, in place. Kegel exercises help prevent or control problems with urine incontinence (leakage). Incontinence may be caused by pregnancy, childbirth, or menopause.
How will I know I am using the correct muscles?
Pelvic muscles are the muscles you use to control urine flow. To target these muscles, stop and start the flow of urine several times. This will help you become familiar with how it feels to tighten and relax these muscles.
How should I do Kegel exercises?
- Empty your bladder. You may lie down, stand up, or sit down to do these exercises. When you first try to do these exercises, it may be easier if you lie down. Tighten or squeeze your pelvic muscles slowly. It may feel like you are trying to hold back urine or gas. Hold this position for 3 seconds. Relax for 3 seconds. Repeat this cycle 10 times.
- Do 10 sets of Kegel exercises, at least 3 times a day. Do not hold your breath when you do Kegel exercises. Keep your stomach, back, and leg muscles relaxed.
- As your muscles get stronger, you will be able to hold the squeeze longer. Your healthcare provider may ask that you increase your pelvic muscle squeeze to 10 seconds. After you squeeze for 10 seconds, relax for 10 seconds.
What else should I know?
- Once you know how to do Kegel exercises, use different positions. This will help to strengthen your pelvic muscles as much as possible. You can do these exercises while you lie on the floor, watch TV, or while you stand.
- You may notice improved bladder control within about 6 weeks.
- Tighten your pelvic muscles before you sneeze, cough, or lift to prevent urine leakage.
When should I contact my healthcare provider?
- You cannot feel your pelvic muscles tighten or relax.
- You continue to leak urine.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
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