You’ve likely heard about the importance of Kegel exercises – aka training of pelvic floor muscles, which include the uterus, bladder, small intestine and rectum. Important for both men and women, especially when trying to conceive, Kegel Exercises help.
- increase blood flow to the pelvic region which can nourish the tissue with hormones;
- increase blood flow to ovaries and uterus, enhancing likelihood of release of an egg;
- support healthy development of the uterine lining/ placenta should pregnancy occur;
- bring nutrient rich blood to the prostate and promote healthy sperm production;
- enhance sexual pleasure.
Typical causes of weak pelvic muscles include being overweight, certain surgical procedures, the aging process, excessive strain during exercise pregnancy and vaginal delivery.
Common signs of pelvic weakness
- Leaking a few drops of urine when you laugh, sneeze, or cough.
- Continuing to “dribble” after you’ve left the toilet (men).
- Never feel like you can “hold it” and often rush to the bathroom.
How to Perform Kegel Exercises
Find the right muscles: Women can do this by stopping urination in midstream.
Men need to tense the muscles that prevent passing gas or stopping the flow of urine. Once you’ve identified the muscles, you can do the exercises in any position, although it may be easiest to do them lying down at first.
- Contract the muscles slowly. Hold for five seconds; slowly release for a count of five. Repeat five times. Work up to ten times, five sets per day.
- Tighten only your pelvic floor muscles. Be careful not to flex the muscles in your abdomen, thighs or buttocks. Breathe freely during the exercises.
If you’re having trouble finding or contracting the pelvic floor muscles, make an appointment with your physician for evaluation and education.
- MayoClinic Online. “Kegel exercises: A how-to guide for women.” Accessed 5 June 2017: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/womens-health/in-depth/kegel-exercises/art-20045283
- “Kegel exercises for men: Understand the benefits.” Accessed 5 June 2017: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/mens-health/in-depth/kegel-exercises-for-men/art-20045074
- Healthline.com “Kegel Exercises” Accessed 5 June 2017: http://www.healthline.com/health/kegel-exercises#purpose2
- Personal Communication, Judith Thompson, N.D., May/June 2017 via email.