Gynecologic Health

Premier Health providers answer frequently asked questions about prevention and wellness for women.

What are Kegels and why are they important?

Premier Health’s Dr. Jerome Yaklic explains the importance of Kegels, pelvic muscles that aid bladder control. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

   

Stress urinary incontinence is often caused by weakened muscles in the pelvic floor. For women, pelvic muscles are often weakened by pregnancy and childbirth. However, these muscles—the Kegels—can be exercised, and the increased strength can help minimize or stop urine leakage.

The Office on Women’s Health provides directions for Kegel exercises:

  1. Tighten the muscles in the genital area as if trying to stop the flow of urine without using the muscles in your stomach, legs or buttocks.
  2. Hold the contraction for ten seconds.
  3. Relax for ten seconds.
  4. Repeat to complete a set of ten contractions three times each day.

At first, you may not have the strength to hold the contraction for ten seconds. You can build up strength slowly—holding the contraction for two seconds, relaxing for three seconds and then repeating. Progressively increase the length of time you hold the contractions until you are able to sustain the contraction for the full ten seconds.

It takes time to build up muscle strength to control urine flow. FamilyDoctor.org notes it may take three to six months before you see an improvement in urinary incontinence symptoms.

As Dr. Yaklic observes, pelvic floor exercises are effective if people do them correctly. However, people often contract muscles in their abdomen, legs and/or buttocks instead of their Kegels. To make sure that you are isolating the correct muscle group, your doctor may have you perform the exercises during a visit, refer you to a physical therapist or recommend biofeedback.

To learn more about pelvic exercises for urinary incontinence treatment, talk to your doctor.

Learn more:

Source: Rashmi Bolinjkar, MD, Upper Valley Womens Center; Jeremy Crouch, MD, Womens Health Specialists and Midwives of Dayton; Heather Hilkowitz, MD, Hilltop Obstetrics and Gynecology; Amanda Fox, CNP, Dulan and Moore Dulan Family Wellness Center; Kathryn Lorenz, MD, Hyatt Family Care; William Rush, MD, Lifestages Samaritan Centers for Women; Jerome Yaklic, MD, Wright State Physicians Obstetrics and Gynecology; Mansi Amin, DO, SureCare Medical Center; Amy Renshaw, MD, Center for Womens Health and Wellness; J. Scott Bembry, Premier OB/GYN; L. William Rettig, III, MD,Lifestages Centers for Women; Elyse Weber, PA, Lifestages Centers for Women; Rhonda Washington, MD, Center for Womens Health and Wellness; Stacy Hudepohl, CNM, Center for Womens Health and Wellness; Larry Holland, DO, Premier Womens Center

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