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    Correct way to do pelvic muscle exercises (Kegels)
    Diane K Newman, RN-C, MSN, ANP posted:
    Do all of the members of the exchange understand how important pelvic floor muscle exercises are and the correct way to do them?

    Pelvic floor muscle exercises can help both men and women with stress or urge urinary incontinence, urinary urgency and frequency. The pelvic floor muscle is a sling of muscles that attach to the pelvic bone in the front and the tail bone in the back. It sits like a hammock in your pelvis. These muscles support the pelvic organs which are the bladder and rectum and uterus in women and they surround the prostate gland in men. These muscles can be controlled and play an important part in preventing urine leakage and can be used to lessen urinary urgency. They can become weakened with childbirth, lack of use, decrease in the hormone estrogen, aging, surgery such as prostate surgery, and injury.

    Doing exercises, also known as Kegel exercises, can help you strengthen these muscles and give you bladder control. The first step is to find the pelvic muscle, then you will need to learn how to do basic exercises and then plan out a reasonable regimen (do them at least two times a day).

    So, let?s start by learning to find the muscle. Everyone, at one time or another, has been in a crowded room and felt as if he or she were going to pass gas or ?wind.? Most will try to squeeze the muscles of the anus to prevent the passing of gas. If you do this?you are squeezing the back part of the pelvic floor muscles, the part that supports you rectal sphincter. Another example is to imagine you have an egg in your rectum and you are trying to break it. In both cases, the muscles being squeezed are the pelvic floor muscle. So if you feel a ?pulling? sensation at the anus, you are squeezing the correct muscles.

    Figure out how to fit the exercises into your daily routine and you are there. It may take 4-6 weeks of doing the exercises before you notice a change so be patient.

    A regular Kegel exercise routine may also help improve sexual response in men and women and may prevent other problems like stool incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse (dropped bladder or uterus) from occurring at all.

    I will post a resource that gives more information about how to do Kegel exercises correctly.
    Louise_WebMD_Staff responded:
    Thanks Diane.

    Do any of the products sold to help women do more effective kegels really work or are they just a waste of money?
    Diane K Newman, RN-C, MSN, ANP replied to Louise_WebMD_Staff's response:
    Vaginal weights, the most basic Kegel aids, are simple cones (like tampons) made of surgical steel in graduated weights. By inserting the lightest weight into the vagina before doing the exercise, you can increase the speed by which the muscles strengthen. The principle is similar to lifting weights"014as you increase the resistance by increasing the weight, your muscles adapt and grow stronger. The weights are not necessary to a good Kegel program but will speed up your progress.

    The next step, which uses biofeedback, includes a group of therapeutic procedures that utilize electronic or mechanical instruments to accurately measure, process, and provide 'feedback' to you about neuromuscular and or other body activity. In the case of Kegel exercises, biofeedback can be used to insure that you are contracting the right muscles, measure the actual force of the muscle contractions, and allow you to track the progress of your strengthening routine. Biofeedback devices for women include an air-filled vaginal sensor (air-filled rectal sensor for men) that detects muscle contractions and displays them on a screen. The device then "cues" the user to alternately flex and relax her muscles through a five minute session.

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