How Kegels and Pelvic Floor Exercises Can Improve Urologic Health

January 08,2021 |
Woman doing Kegel exercises

There are many things that can impact your urologic health. What you eat, drink, and do on a regular basis will either help benefit your body or harm it. If you’re looking to add some healthy habits that will improve your overall urologic health, that’s great. However, always make sure that you talk to your doctor to better understand any problems or underlying conditions before starting a new regimen or diet program. Once you’ve talked to your doctor, consider adding kegels and pelvic floor exercises into your daily routine. Doing so will help you strengthen the muscles essential to healthy urology and reduce your chances of urinary incontinence. Here is some important information about how kegels and pelvic floor exercises can improve urologic health.

What is a Kegel?

Kegels are the most popular and well-known pelvic floor exercises. They’re discreet, efficient, and fairly easy to learn and they have a positive effect on the urinary system.

What Should Kegels Feel Like?

When performing kegels, you should feel the same sensation as when you stop your urine flow mid-stream or when you are squeezing the muscles of your anus to prevent passing gas. Women will notice a slight pulling in the rectum and vagina while men should feel a pulling of the anus accompanied by a slight movement of the penis.

How to do a Kegel

Chances are you’ve probably done at least part of kegel at some point in your life, whether you realize it or not. To get started, make sure you isolate the muscles. You should feel the sensations described above. If you do not, try to isolate them while emptying your bladder. Stop urinating in the middle of voiding—the muscles you used to stop urinating are the ones that you want to target. Do not try to perform kegels while you’re urinating as this can actually weaken your muscles. It’s only recommended for those who have never done a kegel so they can better understand which muscles to contract. If you have trouble identifying your pelvic floor muscles, contact to your doctor.

Once you find the muscles, make sure that your bladder is empty. You can perform kegels sitting, standing, or lying down—whatever is more comfortable for you. Tighten your pelvic floor muscles, hold them, and count to 10. Relax the muscle and count to 10. Repeat this 10-20 times, increasing the reps as your muscles get stronger. Avoid tightening the muscles in your stomach, thighs, buttocks, or chest to get the most out of your exercises.

How Often to do Kegel Exercises

You should aim to do about 20 kegel exercises three to four times each day. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t reach this number when you first start. It takes time for you to build your pelvic floor muscles and the more you exercise them, the stronger they’ll become. Do as many as you can and slowly begin to increase them until you can do 20 in a row. Repeat this process, but don’t overdo it. Your pelvic floor muscles need rest, just like the other muscles in your body. Some people will start to see results after only a few weeks of consistent exercises, but it usually takes about 12 weeks to build new muscle fibers and thicken existing muscles.

The nice thing about kegel exercises is that they can be done anytime, anywhere. They’re completely discrete and no one will know that you’re doing them. Just make sure that you’re consistent and do them every day if you want to see a noticeable difference in the strength of your pelvic floor. 

If you’re having trouble performing kegels, don’t be embarrassed to talk to a urologist. There are ways for your doctor to provide feedback so you can learn how to correctly isolate and exercise your pelvic floor muscles. In fact, with advanced technology, you can utilize biofeedback to determine where you’re exerting pressure so it can be corrected. There are plenty of ways for you to learn how to properly perform kegel exercises, so talk to your doctor if you’re struggling.

What are Pelvic Floor Exercises?

Many people hear the words pelvic floor exercises and immediately think of kegels. However, there are many other exercises that strengthen the muscles of your pelvic floor—some of which many actually be more beneficial than kegels.

Different Kinds of Pelvic Floor Exercises

While kegels are the most well-known pelvic floor exercises, they aren’t the only way to strengthen these muscles. By combining a myriad of different exercises, especially ones that target your deep abdominal muscles, you’ll help improve your overall urologic health even more. While these exercises aren’t as inconspicuous as kegels, they can be performed at home without any additional equipment.

  • Pelvic Brace – start on all fours and draw your belly button back toward your spine and up in between your ribs. Hold for three seconds and release. Do two sets of eight reps.
  • Pelvic Tilt – lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent. Flatten your back against the floor by tightening your abdominal muscles and bending your pelvic up slightly. Hold for up to 10 seconds, release, and repeat.
  • Inner-Thigh Squeeze – begin on your back with your legs bent, feet flat, and a yoga block in between your knees. Lift your hips up into a bridge, push through the heals, and squeeze the block for 10 seconds before releasing. Complete three sets of 10 reps. There are a few variations of this, so find what works best for you and stick to it.

For more pelvic floor exercises you can do at home, click here.

Regardless of which kind of pelvic floor exercise you decide to do, try to do them at least three times a day. If you’re going to do kegels, great. If you want to try one or more of the above pelvic floor exercises, that works too. The important thing is that you’re properly engaging your pelvic floor so that you’re targeting the correct muscles. If you’re having trouble, or aren’t sure if you’re doing them properly, talk to your doctor or urologist about how they can help.

How Kegels and Pelvic Floor Exercises Can Improve Urologic Health

The pelvic floor muscles are an interconnected network of muscles that support your bladder, uterus, rectum, large intestine, and helps control your urine flow. The three primary pelvic muscles include the bladder, the sphincter muscles, and the pelvic floor muscle. The pelvic floor muscle can weaken from pregnancy, childbirth, surgery, aging, excessive strain, obesity, and other conditions. When this happens, you can begin to experience signs of urinary incontinence, painful bladder syndrome, and other urologic problems.

If you’re performing kegel exercises to help urologic health, you should start seeing improvements and results in as little as a few weeks. Some people may require longer periods of exercise to see noticeable results, but if you don’t experience improvements within a few months, talk to your doctor to ensure that you’re properly performing the exercise. For long-lasting results and continued urologic support, make kegels a part of your daily routine.

The Importance of Kegels and Pelvic Floor Exercises for Men

While most people assume that kegels only benefit women, they’re important for men’s urologic health as well. Kegels and pelvic floor exercises can help support the prostate gland, especially when the pelvic floor muscles are weakened following a surgery. Practicing pelvic floor exercises will help to give you better control of your bladder and urine flow, but it does take time. Strengthening the pelvic floor will also help you manage prostate pain from benign prostatic hyperplasia, combat symptoms of overactive bladder, and improve overall sexual health.

In most cases, you can gain control of urinary incontinence within nine to 12 months after prostate surgery. However, everyone is different and healing time will vary. Stay consistent and talk to your doctor about any concerns or problems you’re experiencing.

The Importance of Kegels and Pelvic Floor Exercises for Women

The primary reason that kegels and pelvic floor exercises are so important for women is due to the strain and damage that pregnancy and childbirth can have on these muscles. After delivery, your pelvic floor muscles become extremely weak and can contribute to worsening incontinence. By performing pelvic floor exercises regularly, you’ll be able to rebuild and strengthen these muscles to achieve more control over your urinary system and even improve your sexual health and pleasure.

Kegels and pelvic floor exercises improve the overall circulation to your vagina and pelvic floor, which subsequently increase sexual arousal and makes it easier to reach orgasms. If you’re having problems or experiencing pain during intercourse, talk to your doctor today.

If you’re suffering from urinary incontinence or other common urologic problems, talk to your doctor immediately. While kegels and pelvic floor exercises can improve urologic health, you should always get a medical diagnosis if you’re experiencing any pain, symptoms of a problem, or discomfort. To support your journey to better urologic health, the professionals at Byram Healthcare are here to help.