Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Importance of Kegels

Kegels - Never to be Underestimated

I feel I can never stress enough the importance of doing Kegels.   After a recent gal pal date, over coffee, I realized "do your kegels" is the "monthly self-breast exam" and "practice safe sex" women's health motto for this new decade. 

We, as women, do Kegels to prevent complications that arise with the pelvic floor from age, regardless of whether or not we had children.  These complications can include urinary incontinence, urinary urgency, pain during intercourse, pelvic organ prolapse, and uterine or cervical prolapse.

Ok, but what are Kegels?  The Kegel muscles are the group of muscles that make up the pelvic floor. Kegel exercise are the subsequent exercise that strengthen these muscles.

How do I do Kegels? The best way for women to do Kegel exercises is to imagine they are trying to pick up a marble with their vagina.   Another way to know a woman is doing them correctly is to try to stop the flow of urine. They can be done in any position (sitting, standing, lying).  They should be done in 3-5 times a day for 10 reps each set.  Pilates exercises are known for consistently engaging the Kegel muscles.  Most women need 3-4 weeks before they will begin to see improvement.

Benefits in Pregnancy. Kegels can also be beneficial in pregnancy and labor and delivery, as a strong pelvic floor offers the pregnant woman more support during pregnancy and more strength in delivery. 

Some resources:
 The Mayo Clinic Guide to Kegels a step-by-step guide to exercising the pelvic floor.

Kegelmasters - Like lifting weights for the pelvic floor. Products that provide resistance and increased strength training.

Light Bladder Leakage - information about light bladder leakage and it's link to menopause.



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