You may have heard provocative phrases such as “enhance your sexual satisfaction through Kegel exercises” or “Kegel exercises loved by husbands/boyfriends”. These strength based exercises have many more benefits but why is it that they have became known only for enhancing women’s “sexual function”? Women’s bodies are not valuable simply for their sexual function. That is only a small part of Kegel exercises, so let’s look at some other reasons why women love Kegels.
Kegel Exercises Strengthen the Pelvic Floor Muscles
✔️ Why You Should Do Kegel Exercises
Kegel exercises are exercises that strengthen your ‘pelvic floor muscles’. Why else would we need to strengthen our pelvic floor?
The pelvic floor muscles support the uterus, bladder, and bowel and if they are weakened, these organs can prolapse towards the women's vagina which can lead to disorders such as urinary incontinence, cystocele (bladder dropping or sagging into the vagina), and rectocele (bowel bulging into the vagina back wall).
Kegel exercises not only enhance sexual function but also prevent and treat these disorders.
✔️ How to Find Your Pelvic Floor Muscles
- Insert a clean finger into the vagina and tighten your vaginal muscles around the finger.
- Try to stop the flow of urine during urination.
You can feel the muscles of your vagina, bladder, or anus getting tense and going upwards. These muscles are the pelvic floor muscles.
✔️ Self-Assessment of Pelvic Floor Muscle Strength
It is difficult to accurately measure the strength of the pelvic floor muscles without the help of an expert. But you can identify the reference point of your pelvic floor muscles through a few self-assessments. Before starting Kegel exercises, examine your current condition and experience your pelvic floor muscles strengthening through these exercises.
- 👀 Take a look
Examine thoroughly. Sit on the floor with your back supported. Raise your knees and prop your hips upwards. Examine the area around the vagina and anus using a mirror. Contract your muscles as if you are trying to stop the stream of urine. You can see your muscles draw inwards and upwards and pull away from the mirror.
- 😌 Feel it from the outside
Lie on your side with one pillow under your head and another between your knees. Place four fingers on the skin between the base of your spine and your anus. Contract your muscles as if you are trying to stop the stream of urine. You can feel the area under your fingers tighten and lift.
- ☝️ Using Your Finger
Feel from the inside. Insert your finger gently into your vagina. Slowly bend your finger and gently press onto the side of the vaginal wall. Contract your muscles as if you are trying to stop the stream of urine. You should feel a squeeze around your finger.
If you felt your muscles move through these three methods, you can properly contract your pelvic floor muscles!
Rate what you felt during your self-assessment from 1 to 10. Assess again after a few weeks of doing Kegel exercises and you can compare how much stronger your pelvic floor muscles have become!
✔️ Kegel Exercises
- Empty your bladder then sit or lie down. (You can do Kegel exercises anywhere, but beginners should do it in a quiet and private area for better concentration.)
- Tighten your pelvic floor muscles and count for 3 to 5 seconds.
- Relax the muscles and count for 3 to 5 seconds.
- Repeat 10 times, 3 times a day (morning, afternoon, and night).
You can see the effects after a few weeks to months of doing Kegel exercises. Keep doing them for continuous effects.
- Stopping the flow of urine should only be done for finding the muscles at first. Regularly stopping the flow of urine or practicing Kegel exercises with your bladder full can weaken your pelvic floor muscles or cause damage to the bladder and kidneys. Not completely emptying the bladder can increase the risk of urinary tract infections.
- Make sure not to use your stomach, thighs, or buttock muscles when doing the exercises.
- Don’t hold your breath during the exercises and breathe naturally.
- Do not put too much force when tightening the muscles. Putting too much force can tighten the vaginal muscles too much and cause pain during intercourse.
- Kegel exercises can be done anytime and anywhere. Regularly practice your Kegel exercises.
- Incorrect Kegel exercises can have the opposite effect. Don’t be embarrassed if you're unsure or have a problem, and learn the proper techniques by seeking help from an expert.