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What is Kegel Exercise?

What is Kegel Exercise?

Kegel exercises are group of exercises that are very important for men. These exercises can make the pelvic floor muscles stronger. Pelvic muscles are the group of muscles that hold up the bladder and help keep it in having normal contraction and prevents leaking. Exercises are usually done to reduce urinary stress incontinence (especially after childbirth) and as treatment in premature ejaculation in men. These group of exercises were first described by American gynecologist Arnold Kegel in 1948.

 What is Kegel Exercise?
 Kegel exercise which is also commonly known as pelvic floor exercise, consists of repeatedly contracting and relaxing of the pelvic floor muscles. Kegel exercise can be performed numerous times a day, lasting for several minutes at a time. This exercise should be continued for at least 2-3 months for optimum results. Kegel exercises are easy to perform and can be done at any time. It can be done even when you are sitting or lying down. You can also do them while you are eating, sitting at your desk, driving, and even when you are resting or watching movies.

 Health Benefits of Kegel Exercise.
1.       Kegel Exercise is helpful for Men and Women who have issues with urine leakage or bowel control.
2.       Kegel Exercise helps to strengthen the pelvic muscles after surgeries around the pelvic area for example, after gynaecological surgeries in women& after prostate surgery in men
3.       It also helps to strengthen pelvic muscles due to old age
4.       It is also helpful for strengthening pelvic muscles due to obesity or weight gain
5.       Kegel exercise also strengthens your pelvic muscle after pregnancy and child birth
6.       Kegel exercise helps to treat premature ejaculation in men.
7.       Kegel exercises can be beneficial in treating urinary incontinence in both men and women as this strengthens the bladder and the surrounding muscles.
8.       Kegel exercises are reported to be good for treating patients with vaginal prolapse
9.       These pelvic floor exercises can also benefit patients suffering from faecal incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse conditions

How to do Kegel Exercises for Men and Kegel Exercises for Women

 Kegel exercises are popular among men as it is marketed as Kegel exercises for men to last longer as it used in treatment for premature ejaculation. There are few steps that need to be followed while performing Kegel Exercises in men and women.

1. Find the Right Muscles to perform Kegel Exercise

 Kegel exercise is performed like pretending to urinate and then holding it in between. You continuously relax and tighten the muscles which controls the urine flow. It is very important to observe and find the correct muscles to tighten and relax.
Next time when you go for urination, try to start urinating and then stop in between. During this process you can feel the muscles in your vagina (for women), bladder, or anus get tighter and it tends to move upward. These group of muscles are called as the pelvic floor muscles. If you feel that the muscles have tightened, then you have done the exercise right. Also, please note that your thighs, buttock muscles, and abdomen should remain relaxed while doing this exercise.

2. During the process If you still are not sure that you are tightening the right muscles, then the following tips will help you,

·         Imagine that you are trying to prevent yourself from passing gas.
·         Women: During this time insert a finger into your vagina and tighten your muscles as if you are holding your urine, then let go. You will now feel the muscles tighten and move up and down.
·         Men: Insert a finger into your rectum slowly. Then tighten the muscles as if you are holding in your urine, then let go. You should feel the muscles tighten and move up and down.

3. Kegel Exercise Procedure

Once you know how the movement feels like and when you have discovered the correct muscles, you can perform Kegel exercises 3 - 5 times a day.

·         Make sure your bladder is empty and you are free from any natural urges
·         You can then sit or lie down as per your convenience.
·         Then slowly tighten your pelvic floor muscles and hold them until the count to 10
·         After that, relax the muscles and then count to 12.
·         This process can be repeated up to 10 times, 3 -5 times a day.
·         Take care to breathe deeply and relax your body while performing these exercises. Make sure that you are not tightening your stomach, thigh, buttock, or chest muscles. Keep the abdominal muscles relaxed

Continue these processes for at least 4 to 6 weeks, after which you should feel better and have lesser symptoms. Keep doing the exercises but please note that overdoing these exercises can lead to straining when you urinate or move your bowels.

Important Points to note while doing Kegel Exercises

·         Women who performs Kegel exercises incorrectly or with too much force can result in vaginal muscles to tighten too much. This leads to painful coitus.
·         There is a chance that incontinence will return if you stop practicing these exercises. Once you start doing them, you might have to do them for longer periods.
·         It may take long time or even several months for your incontinence and other symptoms to lessen once you start doing these exercises.

When to seek professional help or advice

Do not hesitate to seek professional advice from your health care provider if you are not sure that you are doing Kegel exercises the right way. Your healthcare professional can check to see if you are doing them correctly. You may be referred to a physical therapist who is specialized in such exercises.

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