Our expert says:
The Kegel’s exercises are the simplest, the most silent and secretive and can be almost seductive. Named after Dr Arnold Kegel, the California physician who first described them, they are good for both women and men. Yoga practice has long demonstrated their benefit for men and women.
What are Kegel exercises?
These exercises are designed to strengthen and give you voluntary control over a muscle called the Pubococcygeus muscle - (pew-bo-kak-se-gee-us), or P.C. for short. This muscle is the support muscle for the genitals in both men and women. These muscles help support the uterus (womb), bladder and rectum. There is a definite correlation between good tone in the P.C. muscle and orgasmic intensity.
These exercises can help you to:
· Increase your awareness of feelings in your genital area.
· Increase blood circulation in the genital area
· Add to your sexual responsiveness
· Aid in restoring vaginal muscle tone following childbirth
· Increase your control over your orgasm
To find your P.C. muscle, when you need to urinate, see if you can start and stop the flow of urine with your legs apart (without moving your legs together). The P.C. muscle is the one that stops the flow. If you don’t find it the first time, don’t give up; try again the next time you need to urinate.
Why are these exercises important?
The perineal muscles can become weakened by:
· decreased oestrogen levels during and following menopause
· Increased pressure on the muscles, such as during running and coughing
When the perineal muscles are weakened, you may notice any of the following problems
· an uncomfortable feeling of pressure or heaviness
· leaking of urine when laughing, coughing, running or doing exercise
· bulging of the bladder into the vagina (cystocoele)
· bulging of the rectum into the vagina (rectocele)
· dropping of the uterus into the vagina
How to do Kegel exercises
You can find the perineal muscle by trying to stop and restart the flow of urination. If you can do this, you can control and strengthen your perineal muscle.
Tighten the P.C. muscle and hold it as you did when you stopped the flow of urine for a slow count to 3. Then relax the muscle.
Tighten and relax the P.C. muscle as rapidly as you can. At first it will feel like a flutter. You will gradually gain more control.
PULL IN / PUSH OUT
Pull up the entire pelvic area as though trying to suck up water into your genitals. Then push out or bear down as if trying to push the imaginary water out. (This exercise will use a number of “stomach” or “abdominal” muscles as well as the P.C. muscle)
At first do ten of these exercises (one set), 3 times a day
(3 exercises x 10 x 3 times a day = 90 total exercises to start.)
Each week add 5 more times to each exercise.
Example: Week 2 - 3 sets x 15 times x 3 times a day
Week 3 - 3 sets x 20 times x 3 times a day
Week 4 - 3 sets x 25 times x 3 times a day
Keep doing 3 sets a day.
You can help yourself remember to do the exercises by associating them with some activity you do every day: talking on the phone, watching television, waiting in line, or lying on the bed. Think of activities, which don’t require much moving around. Developing a routine helps you to become more consistent, e.g. do the exercises at every red robot, during commercials on TV, during and after using the bathroom, etc.
Don’t worry if your muscles seem to get tired easily at first; that’s normal for exercising any new muscle group. Rest between sets for a few seconds and start again. Remember to keep breathing naturally.
· Try to tighten the muscles a little more strongly each day.
· Keep the muscles of the abdomen, thighs and hips relaxed
· Do not skip a day.
· If continuous exercises cause fatigue, try exercising for one or two minutes then rest for several minutes before continuing.
You may watch the movement by looking at your genitals in a hand mirror. Doing these things with your Kegel’s will help you learn more rapidly.
Optional exercise for men with too much time on their hands: when the penis is erect, sit or stand with your legs apart and try wagging your penis up and down or sideways by squeezing the muscles in the groin. (Women find this exercise very amusing to watch)
Copyright: DISA Health Care 1997
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