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KEGEL EXERCISES: Your pelvic floor muscles need a revamp.

Kegel exercises help strengthen pelvic muscles. The pelvic area is the part of the body that includes the hip bones. Pelvic muscles are at the bottom of this area (let’s call it the pelvic floor), between the legs. It is roughly the part that is covered by the panty liner.

These muscles are vital in that they support the bladder, uterus, and rectum. They do prevent urine and stool from leaking out. They also do important work during sex.

Kegel exercises help in several conditions. Let’s have a look into this.

 When pelvic floor muscles are stretched or damaged, most commonly during childbirth, they may stop supporting the bladder, uterus, or rectum. These organs can drop down and cause feelings of pressure, fullness, and heaviness. They can bulge into the vagina.

Lost bladder support can cause problems holding urine during coughing, sneezing, or laughing hard. Urine leakage can happen during and after pregnancy. When support for the rectum fails, trouble having bowel movements can occur.

Read this article: Endometriosis: Let’s manage it.

Kegel exercises can help these conditions, as well as helping women who have problems reaching orgasm during sex.

Kegel exercises comprise contracting (squeezing) and relaxing pelvic floor muscles. You can learn to do this by thinking of the muscles used to stop urine outflow. Contracting these muscles halts the urine, and relaxing them lets urine flow again. Once you find the right muscles, you can work them without urinating.

Do the Kegel exercises in sets. Quickly contract and release the muscles 15, 20, or more times, and the rest for 30 seconds and repeat this process. 

Contract all the muscles, hold them tight for 3 seconds and then released for 3 seconds, with this process repeated 20 or more times. Use longer times until muscles can be contracted for 10 seconds and relaxed for 10 seconds between contractions. With either method, repeat the process two or three times each day.

We recommend that you tighten only pelvic floor muscles, not muscles in the abdomen (belly), thighs, or buttocks. Don’t start and stop the urine stream. Doing Kegel exercise with a full bladder or while urinating can weaken the muscles. Over-exercising can also make the muscles tired and increase urine leakage.

Exercises like these can be done anywhere without anyone knowing about it. A few people use tricks to remember to exercise- getting ready for a break from work, when the evening news start, checking e-mail while waiting for a stoplight.

Many clinicians recommend the exercises to all people and to pregnant women to help them get ready for labour and delivery. 

We adopted this information from Ferri’s Netter Patient Advisor, 3rd edition. Get yourself a copy from here.


MBChB (MUK), Graduate Fellow, Department of Physiology, Makerere University Founder and Content Creator Peer reviewer, Associate Editor

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