What Are Kegel Exercises and
How Do They Promote Good Urological Health?

What Are Kegel Exercises and
How Do They Promote Good Urological Health?

Kegel exercises are also known as pelvic floor exercises. This form of exercise promotes good urological health by strengthening muscles near the bladder, bowel and uterus.

Obviously the urinary system is interconnected, so it’s no surprise that some symptoms can be indicative of multiple maladies.

Kegel exercises can benefit both men and women of all ages. They can be conducted at any time of the day, either sitting, standing or walking. These exercises are an easy and effective way to promote good urological health. In some cases, they prevent the need for corrective surgery.

Kegel exercises consist of contracting and relaxing pelvic floor muscles to strengthen them. Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles has numerous urological benefits. This includes combatting urinary incontinence or bowel issues. Regular exercises increase bladder control and sexual performance. It is also a valuable habit to practise throughout pregnancy and following childbirth.

Pelvic Floor Muscles

Pelvic floor muscles are the layer of muscles aiding pelvic organs. Kegels help to strengthen the levator muscles (pubococcygeus, puborectalis and ileococcygeus) of the pelvic floor. For men, this includes the bladder and bowel. For women, this includes the bladder, bowel and uterus. Pelvic floor muscles maintain several bodily functions, including:

• Urinary and faecal incontinence
• Bladder control
• Sexual performance and orgasm
• Stabilising joints
• Pelvic, venous and lymphatic drainage

Along with these typical functions, pelvic floor muscles also help to control abdominal pressure during strenuous movement. Strenuous movements can include exercise or laborious work.

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

A weakened capacity to control muscles in the pelvic floor is known as pelvic floor dysfunction. A variety of symptoms may present themselves as being associated with pelvic floor dysfunction. It is important to note that many of these symptoms may be connected to other medical conditions. The main symptoms of a pelvic floor dysfunction include:

• Urinary incontinence with laughing, coughing, sneezing or exercising
• Constipation
• Inability to complete a bladder or bowel movement
• Pain in the lower back
• Pelvic pain
• Uncontrollable gas
• Pain (for women) during intercourse

While many causes of pelvic floor problems are unknown, there are several factors that will increase the risk. Some people may experience problems with their pelvic floor from a young age, some at an older age, and some after childbirth. Factors leading to a weak pelvic floor include:

• Pregnancy and childbirth
• Menopause
• Constipation
• Obesity
• Heavy lifting
• Conditions that lead to coughing or sneezing such as allergies and asthma
• Pelvis injuries
• Gynaecological surgery
• Prostate surgery

Kegel Exercises for Men

Contrary to popular belief, men are susceptible to the consequences of a weak pelvic floor. While many regard Kegel exercises as useful for women’s health, there are several urological benefits for men:

• Improve bladder and bowel control
• Prevent incontinence
• Aid treatment of prostatitis
• Prevent erectile dysfunction
• Prevent premature ejaculation

Like any form of exercise, a consistent routine will see the best results. A Kegel can be performed by first locating the appropriate muscles to exercise. To do this, stop urinating midstream and identify the muscles in use.

Try not to contract any other muscles other than pelvic floor muscles. Men and women should avoid Kegel exercises during urination. This may increase your risk of urinary tract infection.

With an empty bladder, contract and relax these muscles for three to five seconds. Continue to do so as though you are trying to stop urinating. Perform three sets of Kegels each day in reps of ten. Take ten second breaks in between each rep.

Kegel Exercises for Women

Pelvic floor muscles maintain and support a variety of functions in the female body. These muscles will often weaken during pregnancy, after childbirth, with surgery and age. Performing pelvic floor exercises regularly can benefit women in a variety of ways, such as:

• Improve bladder and bowel control
• Prevent incontinence
• Preparation for and recovery from childbirth
• Treat vaginal prolapse
• Combat vaginal pain from intercourse

Similar to performing a Kegel exercise for men, start by identifying the pelvic floor muscles. This can be achieved by stopping urination midstream and locating the correct muscles in use. Do not contract other muscles in the abdomen, chest, thighs or buttocks.

With an empty bladder, contract and relax the pelvic floor muscles in intervals of three to five seconds. You should feel a tightening in the pelvic region. Perform three sets of Kegels each day in reps of ten with a short break in between. Make your goal to hold a contraction for ten seconds. To see continuous benefits, Kegel exercises should be part of your daily routine.

Dr Arianayagam is a very experienced urologist and has extensive experience in dealing with all urological conditions.

If you have any further questions about pelvic floor dysfunction and would like to book an appointment, please feel free to contact or call on 1300 307 990.

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