Health and Beauty

8 questions about Kegel exercises to strengthen the perineum

Recommended for perineal relaxation problems in people with urinary incontinence or for postpartum women, this practice is often very effective in other applications if done well.

Kegel exercises, invented by American gynecologist Arnold Henry Kegel, strengthen the pelvic floor by alternating contractions and relaxation of these muscles.

What is the pelvic floor?

The pelvic floor, also called the perineum, is a hammock-shaped group of muscles that make up the lower part of the pelvis, extending from the pubic bone to the tailbone.

Among its functions we find support for internal organs such as Bladder, uterus, or rectum.

The pelvic floor also intervenes in the contraction of the sphincters and thus regulates the opening of the various channels and thus ensures urinary and fecal incontinence.

Can Kegel exercises be harmful to your health?

Not only are they harmless to the body, but they offer many benefits to your health, especially when it comes to landing.

Abdominal pressures vary when organs fill or empty, contract, or when we engage in physical activity or simple exertion. The role of the perineum is to exert upward resistive pressure in order to maintain pressure balance and prevent complications such as prolapse.

Prolapse is the displacement of one or more organs, such as the uterus, bladder, intestines, rectum, etc., such that one or more organs prolapse or move out of their normal place.

This can happen when the muscles that hold the pelvic organs in place become weak or stretched, such as after birth or after surgery.

Severe obesity, long-term cough, or frequent constipation can also be causes of prolapse.

Pelvic floor muscle training is not only free of side effects, but can also be used as a treatment for this condition.(1).

On the other hand, be careful not to overdo it, as excessive training can, on the contrary, cause muscle fatigue and increase urine leakage.

Can Kegel exercises improve orgasms?

Kegel exercises are widely recommended for people looking for more intense sexual pleasure. Indeed, toning the pelvic muscles has benefits in the sexual field.

At the peak, muscle spasms occur, especially in the pelvis. During a short period of time during orgasm, the muscles of the uterus, vagina, anus, and pelvis contract rhythmically to generate pleasure.

Therefore, strengthening these muscles with Kegel exercises allows you to achieve more intense orgasms.

A study of 145 postmenopausal women residing in Chalus and Noshahr, Iran, showed that Kegel exercises can lead to improvements in certain areas of sexual function, especially arousal, orgasm, and satisfaction in postmenopausal women.(2).

Is training only recommended for older women?

Not at all, many young girls can also benefit from this practice, as it helps reduce menstrual pain. Dysmenorrhea refers to menstrual disorders or pain in the lower abdomen that precedes or accompanies menstruation.

A study of young female students aged 18 to 22 years from the Polytechnic University of Pachuca Hidalgo in Mexico showed that doing Kegel exercises can help reduce pain in young women with primary dysmenorrhea.(3).

Are Kegel exercises beneficial for men?

These exercises are not only recommended for women. In fact, male pelvic floor training also brings many benefits to men's health, especially in terms of preventing urinary and fecal incontinence problems.

In fact, Kegel exercises are a widely used therapeutic strategy to restore urinary control in patients undergoing prostate removal after cancer.(4).

In addition, with regard to the male sex, the scientific community has also validated the therapeutic effects of treating premature ejaculation disorders.(5).

Are these exercises useful for athletes?

It is known that aging, pregnancy, menopause, and obesity, among others, can weaken the pelvic muscles. However, high-impact sports such as running can also weaken them. Likewise, exercises that subject strong pressure to the perineum (squats or leg presses with Valsalva maneuver) are very dangerous in terms of prolapse.

It is a fact that intense and/or repetitive exertion increases pressure on the perineum. If the weakened pelvic floor can no longer handle these pressure changes, it may suffer complications such as urinary incontinence or prolapse.

The literature suggests that the type and dose of exercise may also increase the risk of urinary incontinence in athletes.

In fact, the prevalence is highest in activities that involve repetitive jumping and hopping. A greater volume of training, especially training for competition purposes, results in a greater negative effect(6).

Can Kegel exercises improve my quality of life?

naturally ! Here are some concrete cases:

  1. Researchers have proven that Depression and anxiety Often associated with urinary incontinence. Depressive disorders contribute to episodes of urinary incontinence in the same way that urine leakage contributes to depression, stress, and anxiety(7).
  2. incontinence It is involuntary loss of urine. Weak pelvic floor muscles can make it difficult to retain urine during exercise. During trivial efforts such as coughing, sneezing, laughing or physical activity, pressure on the bladder increases and this causes urine leakage.
  3. It can also cause pelvic floor weakness Fecal incontinence or bowel problems. Studies show that a Kegel exercise routine improves urinary incontinence and the quality of life of the person suffering from it.(8)(9).
  4. Science also shows that these exercises can prevent urinary and fecal incontinence for up to six months. after birth(10).

How to do Kegel exercises?

Here are three simple steps to get started with Kegel exercises.

get ready

Make sure your bladder is empty. It is preferable to lie on your back with your arms beside your body and your knees bent.

Locate the muscles

First, it is important to locate the perineal muscles. Unlike your abs or biceps, these muscles are not visible, making them less easy to use.

You can feel the muscle tension while urinating, because they are what allow you to stop the flow of urine. However, it is not recommended to exercise while urinating, as it may make yourself more susceptible to urinary tract infections.

Palpation can also be helpful in clearly identifying the muscles to be worked.

For these purposes, you can insert your finger about 2 cm, pre-lubricated, into the vagina or anus, contracting and feeling the pelvic floor muscles. The help of a physical therapist or midwife can be helpful to get started.

Take action!

Focus on the perineum area, and make sure all your muscles are relaxed. Next, tighten your pelvic floor muscles and count for 3 to 5 seconds. Then relax your muscles and count for 3 to 5 seconds.

Repeat this pattern 10 times, 3 times a day. Remember to breathe well without holding air while performing the exercises. If it's simpler, you can exhale while contracting and inhale while relaxing.

Note that no pain should be felt in the abdomen or back. Make sure that you are not straining your abdominal or buttocks muscles and that you are only contracting your pelvic area muscles.

As you gain experience, you will be able to do it while sitting, even standing, and even perform other actions. You will be able to see the beneficial effects of this training after about 8-12 weeks.

8 questions about Kegel exercises to strengthen the perineum

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