The purpose of performing kegel exercises is to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. These muscles are used during urination and bowel movements. They are also used during sex of course and help with vaginal embrace.
There are many reasons why your pelvic floor muscles become weakened including age, surgery, childbirth, being overweight and certain specific medical conditions too.
There are 2 main types of Stress Incontinence:
This is when you can "leak" urine when pressure is placed on the pelvic floor muscles - like laughing, coughing, sneezing - jumping on a trampoline etc.
This is when you feel a sudden urge to go to the bathroom - it often wakes you up several times during the night.
Finally, many women also suffer from a combination of the 2 types - this is then called mixed incontinence.
The PC muscles are like any other muscles in the body - if they are ignored then they will waste away - they will become weak and eventually atrophy. Vaginal Atrophy is fairly common in post-menopausal women. This has been known to lead to vaginal prolapse.
What/Who is Kegel?
Dr. Arnold Kegel developed Kegel exercises in 1948 as a method of controlling incontinence in women after childbirth.
How do You Find the Muscles?
Some people have trouble finding and isolating the muscles of the pelvic floor. One approach is to sit on the toilet and urinate - try to stop the flow of urine mid-flow - if you can do this you are contracting your pelvic floor muscles! Now, try and remember that feeling - remember where the muscles were. Once you have finished urinating try and contract them again - do you get the same feeling? If not keep trying - everytime you urinate do this and you will soon learn where the muscles are. Important point - don't contract your buttocks or thigs when doing this - just control the flow of urine alone.
Another way is to insert a finger into the vagina and then try and contract around the finger. If you can do this you are once again using your pelvic floor.
Once you have successfully identified your pelvic floor muscles you can now learn how to do kegel exercises.
How To Perform Kegel Exercises
Start by going to the loo and making sure you have emptied yourself of urine
Do 5 repetitions of this routine:
- Tighten your pelvic muscles and count for around ten seconds holding them all the time in their contracted state
- And... relax! Count for another ten seconds
Do this 3 times a day
After a week increase the repetitions to 10 times. So you will be doing 10 x 3 sets a day
We suggest sitting down when you do these (or lying if you prefer).
Most people see results in just a few short weeks - some as soon as 2 weeks, most around 4 to 6 weeks.
Don't try too hard - don't do too many of these exercises otherwise you can lead to muscle fatigue which in turn can make stress and urge incontinence worse!!
DON'T hold your breath - breathe normally!
Products That Can Help
Well, we obviously sell many products - here is a quick breakdown of the different types:
1 - Manual/Resistance Types
Our Kegel Pelvic Toner is a device that is inserted into your vagina and it has a spring inside the device that provides resistance. It opens up slightly inside you and then when you contract your pelvic floor muscles it squeezes the device closed - this provides extra resistance and helps speed up muscle building.
2 - Electro-Stimulation Devices
These devices (like our AthenaFem, Femetone, PelviTone) include an electrical device and a probe. The probe is inserted into the vagina and the units create a small electrical current that contract the pelvic muscles for you! In tests on Channel 4's Embarassing Illnesses they showed an increase of 50% in pelvic floor strength in just 4 weeks!
3 - Weighted Balls or Cones
These products are inserted into the vagina and you then use your pelvic floor muscles to hold them in place for a short period of time every day. Again, featured on Channel 4's Embarassing Illnesses they showed an increase of 60% in pelvic floor strength in just 4 weeks!
If you want further advice then please contact us directly on 0800 612 6394, on online chat during office hours (see websites) or through our online helpdesk system. A female member of staff can deal with your query.
Please visit www.pelvic-toners.co.uk for more information.