How to Do Pelvic Muscle Exercises for Women (Kegels)
How to Identify the Correct Muscles
1) Upon urinating, try to stop the flow of urine by contracting your pelvic floor muscles two or three times mid-stream. If you are able to contract these muscles, you are using the proper techniques. (Once you have learned how to identify these muscles, do not regularly perform Kegel exercises while urinating because this may eventually weaken the muscles and worsen your symptoms).
2) Imagine that you are trying to stop passing gas. Squeeze the muscles you would use. If you sense a “pulling” feeling, those are the right muscles for pelvic exercises. Do not contract your gluteal/buttock muscles.
How to Exercise
When exercising, it is important to squeeze and relax your muscles as prescribed. One work/rest cycle is one exercise. If while you exercise you no longer feel the contraction, the muscle is tired. Stop and rest for a few minutes and then go back to the exercises.
When and Where to Exercise
It is recommended that you exercise these muscles three times daily doing 10 sets each time. During each set you should squeeze your pelvic floor muscle for three seconds, and then relax your muscles for three seconds.
These exercises can be done anywhere and anytime. It is best when starting out, to practice them either lying down or sitting. If you are doing them properly, your legs, stomach, and buttocks will not move, and no one will know that you are doing your exercises.
Never use your stomach, legs or buttocks and try not to hold your breath. To be sure you are not using your abdominal muscles, place your hand on your abdomen while you squeeze the pelvic floor muscle.
Consistent practice of these exercises is encouraged. Most people report improvement in urinary symptoms with regular practice within one month.
If you are progressing and your symptoms are improving and suddenly for no reason you start leaking more, this could be a sign of a urinary tract infection. There may be no other signs except the increased leakage. If this happens, notify your physician. Make an appointment and plan on giving a urine sample.
Learn more about Kegel exercises from The Urology Group’s Dr. Tran:
Contact us to request an appointment or ask a question. We're here for you.