Our expert says:
Are you having any trouble holding your urine? Often women who have the sensation that their vagina is stretched also notice that they leak urine, especially when they laugh, sneeze, or cough.
Kegel exercises strengthen pelvic floor muscles, the muscles that stretch during childbirth. They help improve sexual pleasure (more intense orgasms) by making the muscles stronger and more elastic, and they can improve bladder tone so that you don't leak urine. They won't, however, actually make your vagina smaller, but they can make the opening tighter.
Here's how to do Kegel exercises:
When you're peeing, clench (without your hands) your muscles to stop the flow of urine for about four seconds. Then release those same muscles to let the urine flow again. These are your pelvic floor muscles; these are the muscles you'll be exercising when you do Kegels.
If you want to check and make sure that you're using the right muscles, put a finger or two into your vagina. Tighten the muscles. If you can feel your fingers being squeezed (even just a little), then you've located the right muscles.
About five to ten times a day, repeat the Kegels ten times per session.
It can take up to 8 - 10 weeks to notice improvement, and there will most certainly be improvement. Like any kind of weight lifting or muscle building exercises, Kegels take time to make a difference! (Adding a vaginal barbell to your regular Kegel exercise routine can help. They are available at specialty stores that carry sex toys or sexual enhancement items.)
If you do Kegel exercises enthusiastically and regularly, and notice no change at all, ask your health care provider about other methods to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, including:
These objects are weighted, tampon-sized devices that a woman puts into her vagina and holds there. A set of cones increases gradually in weight. One starts with the lightest cone, inserts it into the vagina, and squeezes the muscles to hold it in place. This is done twice a day, for about fifteen minutes per session, while going about one's usual activities. When a woman is successful at keeping the cone in place, she can move on to the next heavier cone, working her way up to the heaviest.
Electrical stimulation (called NMES or Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation)
This method uses a probe in the vagina to stimulate the muscles of the pelvic floor with an electric current, which causes the muscles to contract and relax. Treatments are performed every one to four days and last about 20 minutes per session. Depending on the situation, one might do these treatments for a few weeks, or longer. Some health care providers perform these sessions in their offices; others prescribe home units for their patients.
This is a special chair that uses magnetic fields to stimulate the muscles of the pelvic floor. These treatments are usually administered by a technician or nurse in a urologist's office in 20 - 30 minute sessions, twice a week, for about eight weeks.
If you have severe problems due to vaginal stretching, some health care providers will recommend surgery; this is usually a last resort. Laser procedures and more complicated ones to re-position your bladder are available. You and your provider will figure out what makes sense for you.
For more information contact the DISA Clinic where we provide the above treatments (011) 787 - 1222.
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal
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