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Have you Kegel-ed today? Learn exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor here

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Step-by-step instructions for Kegel exercise (from Virtua's Health Information Library)

Dr. Kegel first developed these exercises to assist women before and after childbirth, but they are very useful in helping to improve continence for both men and women.

Kegel exercises are easy to learn, and you can do them anywhere at any time of the day:

  • Since the muscles are sometimes difficult to isolate, the best method is to first learn while urinating. While urinating, contract the muscle in the pelvic area with intention of slowing or stopping the flow of urine. Women should contract the vaginal muscles as well. They can detect this by inserting a finger inside the vagina. When the vaginal walls tighten, the pelvic muscles are being correctly contracted.

  • An alternate approach is to isolate the muscles used in Kegel contractions by sensing then squeezing and lifting the muscles in the rectum that are used in passing gas. (Again, women should contract the vaginal muscles as well)

  • Place your hands on your abdomen, thighs, and buttocks to make sure there is no movement in these areas while exercising.

  • In order to achieve success, some experts recommend performing two exercises that have different timing for the hold and release of the contraction. Both should be done regularly.

  • The first method is used for strengthening the pelvic floor muscles. The patient slowly contracts and lifts the muscles and holds for 5 seconds, then releases them. There is a rest of 10 seconds between contractions.

  • The second method is simply a quick contraction and release. The object of this exercise is to learn to shut off the urine flow rapidly.

  • In general, patients should perform 5 - 15 contractions, three to five times daily.
Read more about Kegel exercises.