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- The National Institutes of Health: Kegel Exercises
- Mayoclinic.com: How to Do Kegel Exercises for Women
- MedLine Plus: Uterine Prolapse
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Exercises for Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
The pelvic floor muscles form a “hammock” that lies below the uterus in women, and below the large intestine and bladder in both men and women. The pelvic floor is comprised of pubococcygeal, or PC muscles. According to the National Institutes of Health, Kegel exercises may strengthen the pelvic floor muscles in men or women who experience urinary or fecal incontinence.
The Mayo Clinic states that stress incontinence occurs when people accidentally urinate while sneezing, laughing or coughing. Women may experience urinary incontinence as a result of childbirth, which can create uterine prolapse.
Consider a gentle pelvic floor exercise as a preparation for Kegel exercises. Lying on your back, set your feet flat, hips-width distance apart. Place your palms on the lowest part of the belly. Inhale and slightly contract the PC muscles without contracting the thighs, hips, abdominal muscles or buttocks. Release and repeat for five rounds.
Proceed to Kegel muscles that the National Institutes of Health recommends to people with either urinary or fecal incontinence. The NIH advises you to empty the bladder first. After that, contract the PC muscles for 10 seconds and release for 10 seconds. Repeat 10 rounds, three times a day. The NIH does not recommend doing more than this number as they warn that excessively exercising the pelvic floor muscles may result in more accidental urine leakage.
Kegels with Devices
If it is appropriate for you, you might consider doing more advanced Kegel exercises. You could use a vaginal cone or similar device and use it to create a greater challenge for the PC muscles. Men can use a similar device and insert it into the anus. In each case, the device becomes something against which the urinary and anal sphincter muscles can work to become stronger, helping to prevent incontinence.
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