Why Do Both Men and Women Benefit From Kegel Exercises?

Surely you have already heard about the kegel exercises and sex, but you also probably do not know what it is. First of all you should know that these exercises are much more than a last minute fashion.

This exercise routine is aimed at strengthening the muscles of the pelvic floor, in order to avoid muscular flaccidity of the area that ensues with the passage of time or with the development of certain health problems. It receives this name in recognition of its promoter, an American gynecologist who developed the technique towards the 1940s, which has its antecedents in Taoism. If you’re interest, hurry and get your loveball now!

The technique is based on the voluntary and conscious contraction and relaxation of the pelvic floor muscles, in order to gain greater tone, reduce or cure certain health problems or improve sexual performance.

Factors that affect the pelvic musculature

Among the factors that negatively alter the musculature of the pelvic floor and justify the practice of Kegel exercises are:

  • Obesity;
  • Pregnancy;
  • Birth;

Benefits of Kegel exercises

  • Prevents vaginal infections;
  • Avoid urinary incontinence;
  • Reduces the symptoms of menopause;
  • Decreases menstrual cramps;
  • They help prepare pregnant women for childbirth by teaching them how to control the muscles;
  • They are allies for the restoration of the pelvic floor after childbirth;
  • It improves the intestine.

How to do Kegel exercises

Before starting to practice Kegel exercises, we recommend that you consult your trusted gynecologist to advise you on the best way to undertake them. You can also go to a physiotherapist. Remember that each case is different.

The first thing you should do is become aware of the muscles that intervene when you urinate. This can be done by contracting and relaxing the muscles of the pelvis as if holding back the urge to pee.

By doing this movement, you can become aware of the muscles you must move. Now, consciously, contract and relax these muscles systematically at 3-second intervals. Little by little, increase that lapse to about 10 seconds. You can do this exercise in series of 10 to 15 repetitions several times a day. Begin by making them lie down, then sitting and finally standing.

Kegel exercises or Kegel method

Exercises recommended by Dr. Arnold Henry Kegel since the 1940s, who began using this method in his patients suffering from urinary incontinence and to facilitate labor in women. Its effectiveness consists of strengthening the muscles of the pelvic floor by contractions of the pubococcygeus muscle.

Origin

The Kegel exercises or the Kegel method also recognized as “pelvic floor strengthening exercises” or “pelvic floor exercises”. They are named like this, due to their inventor, Dr Arnold Henry Kegel who in the 40s began to recommend them to his patients who suffered from urinary incontinence as a parallel method for their control. His scientific article was published in 1948.

The Kegel exercises were designed to control the urinary incontinence of the woman after delivery. The purpose of the exercises is to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic area and improve the function of the urethral or rectal sphincter. The success of the Kegel exercises depends on the proper practice of the technique and a disciplined compliance with the exercise program. Today, women who suffer from stress urinary incontinence are recommended to men suffering from urinary incontinence after prostate surgery and people suffering from fecal incontinence.

Some people do not easily locate the pelvic muscles and must practice frequently to learn how to contract the right muscles. One of the methods is to sit in the toilet and urinate while trying to retain the flow of urine, contracting the muscles of the pelvic floor. By practicing several times the person can get to know the correct group of muscles that makes the contraction. You should not contract the muscles of the abdomen, hips or buttocks while doing this exercise. However, this practice should only be used to locate the muscles and not as exercises, since it alters the normal reflex of urination and could induce an alteration of this mechanism or leave urine in the bladder to finish urinating. Another method to identify muscles is to insert a finger into the rectum.

It is possible to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor using a vaginal cone: device with weight that is inserted into the vagina. Once inside they should try to keep the device contracting the muscles. If you learn to perform the exercises before dilating the vagina, you can see that dilation is easier. This occurs because it is known when the pelvic muscles are tense and when relaxed.

A significant percentage (more than 40%) of the patients cannot correctly locate the pelvic floor muscles and instead of contracting many times they push, which can even aggravate a problem of incontinence or prolapsed.

It is possible to use biofeedback (a method of positive reinforcement) and electrical stimulation to identify the group of muscles to work. Electrodes are placed on the abdomen and along the anal area. Some experts put a sensor in the anus (for men) or in the vagina to monitor the contraction of the muscles. In the monitor you can see by a graph which are the muscles that contract and those that are at rest. The specialist can help identify the muscles for the correct execution of the Kegel exercises. The electrical stimulation is done using low voltage electrical current that stimulates the correct group of muscles. The current is applied using an anal or vaginal probe. This therapy can be done at the specialized center or at home. These sessions are 20 minutes long and are held every 1 or 4 days. According to the studies carried out, they have shown promise for the treatment of incontinence.

Behavioral techniques or control of liquid intake habits and urination, guidance in appropriate sports so as not to aggravate the problems are also an important part of the treatment. This set of techniques is known as pelvic perinea or pelvic floor reeducation and should be applied by a specialized physiotherapist.

Causes of urinary incontinence

Aging is the main cause of urinary incontinence. In addition, other important causes can be:

  • Complicated births or very large babies If the vaginal delivery is more likely to suffer from urinary incontinence.
  • Exercising, carrying weights, exercising in the post-partum stage also help to suffer from urinary incontinence.
  • Chronic cough.
  • Constipation
  • Works that lead to the lifting of heavy loads.
  • Menopause, which due to hormonal changes produces the weakening of certain muscles.
  • Play wind instruments and even practice singing.

The causes listed above cause the structure of the pelvic organs to weaken and these move outward. This displacement is what causes urinary incontinence.

As for any other muscle, when these muscles weaken it is possible to strengthen them again. In addition, it has been demonstrated that the Kegel method improves urine leakage.

Reasons why vaginal muscles may atrophy

  • Pregnancy and subsequent delivery
  • Age
  • Overweight
  • Chronic urinary infection
  • Menopause

How to identify the muscles of the pelvic floor?

If the muscles to be exercised are not well identified, it may be that while Kegel exercises are being performed other muscles are being worked on and no improvement is achieved. For this reason, it is very important to first identify the muscles to work.

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