Are Kegel exercises right for you?

Not all exercises require gym equipment. Kegel exercises target the pelvic floor muscles, which support the small intestine, rectum, uterus and bladder. These are the muscles that can contract to halt urinary flow. You can learn more about the anatomy of the pelvic floor muscles by watching this featured interview with an Ob/Gyn at Riverside Community Hospital. Any patient who suffers from urinary or fecal incontinence, or is at risk of it, can benefit from Kegel exercises.

Reasons to do Kegel exercises
Your Ob/Gyn might recommend that you start doing Kegel exercises if you have symptoms of stress urinary incontinence. This type refers to the involuntary leaking of urine when pressure is exerted on the bladder, such as by laughing, sneezing or coughing.

You may also benefit from Kegel exercises if you have urge incontinence, which is the sudden, overpowering urge to urinate. This urge is followed shortly by the loss of a significant volume of urine.

Patients with fecal incontinence, which is the involuntary passing of fecal matter, may also benefit from Kegel exercises.

Additionally, women who are pregnant or planning to be may do Kegel exercises to reduce the risk of incontinence after childbirth.

Steps to perform Kegel exercises
Kegel exercises are fairly easy to perform. First, identify your pelvic floor muscles by squeezing as if you were trying to halt the flow of urine. Do not contract any other muscles that are nearby.

Squeeze these muscles and hold it for five seconds. You can do this while standing or sitting. If you’re having trouble, it might be easier to lie down until you build up strength in these muscles.

Do this exercise every day, gradually working up to holding the contraction for 10 seconds at a time. Try not to hold your breath, and remember not to contract the muscles of your buttocks, thighs or abdomen.

Number of repetitions of Kegel exercises
Initially, try for four to five repetitions of contractions at a time. Work your way up to 10 repetitions. For best results, try to do three sets of 10 repetitions each day.

Sensitive, compassionate care that improves quality of life for our patients is our mission here at Riverside Community Hospital. Women throughout the Riverside area have long placed their trust in our Ob/Gyn services because of our commitment to healthcare excellence. Call our nurse referral line at (951) 788-3463.

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