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Posted by: Scott Stewart, MSAc., Dipl.Ac., LAc.
What are Kegel exercises?
Kegel exercises help improve the tone of the pelvic floor by strengthening the pubococcygeus muscles (PC muscles), which stretch from the pubic bone to the coccx (tail bone). These muscles become weakened and lose their tone with age. They can also be debilitated by prostate surgery, which leads to incontinence.
What’s the function of PC Muscles?
How do I find the PC muscles?
The easiest way to locate these muscles is to perform a simple test: While urinating, interrupt the flow of urine at midstream. Be sure not to tense the buttocks, thighs, or stomach, because they can easily override the PC muscles. To make sure you’ve located the right muscles, you should feel your testicles start to rise when contracting the PC muscles.
How do you do Kegel exercises?
The exercises can be done in any position, but lying down on the floor may be the easiest for a beginner. Locate and contract the muscles, holding them for 5 seconds, then relax for 3 seconds. This constitutes one exercise. While doing the exercise be sure to breathe normally.
At first, only do a few exercises throughout the day until you feel confident you’re doing them correctly. Gradually build – up the number of repetitions you do with the end goal of doing 20 exercises 3 – 4 times every day. Remember, this is like working any other muscle in the body; it takes time to build strength and tone. It may take up to 2 weeks before you see results, and up to 6 weeks to fully strengthen and tone the muscles.
Things to remember when doing the exercise
1. Don’t hold your breath.
2. While you perform the exercise be sure not to contract any of the surrounding muscles (abdominals, buttocks or thighs).
3. Squeeze the PC muscles tightly and imagine that you’re lifting the muscle up, and not pushing downward.
4. Relax the PC muscles for 3 seconds between contractions.
Kegel exercises are useful in cases of erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, urinary incontinence, and prolapse.
Click here to see an animated video on how to perform the Kegel exercise.
Read more about erectile dysfunction
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Based on the instructions of the Urology Department of UCLA