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Kegel Clues

My ob/gyn has advised me to do Kegel exercises to strengthen my perineum. I have trouble isolating the muscle and end up squeezing my buttocks instead. How can I better isolate my perineum?



Read Gurmukh's reply:

Dear Julie,

Kegel exercises are integral to women's health before, during, and after pregnancy. Routine Kegel exercises can help a woman maintain her strength, and can also prevent medical complications after giving birth. Any woman who has had incontinence problems, or who just has minor leaking when laughing, sneezing, or jumping, will benefit from these exercises.

The easiest way to isolate the muscles is to interrupt the flow of urine. At first, if your muscles are weak, you may not be able to stop the flow completely. But if you repeat this process eight times every time you urinate, your muscles will grow stronger. You will come to know exactly what the Kegel muscles are.

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I am a physical therapist ang practice yoga. I have advanced training in treating people with urinary incontinence. Stopping the flow of urin once or twice a month to find the muscles and assess your strength is fine, but routine practice (8x every time you urinate as suggested ) is not a good idea at all! It interferes with the normal feedback loop between bladder and pelvic floor muscles, and can lead to problems with incomplete bladder emptying. Try this, sit on a seat. Or over a yoga bolster. Tighten your muscles of perineum so you feel the place between your sit bones lift off the seat. See if you can hold for 5, and eventually 10 seconds. Build up to 10 reps. Also practice quick contract, relax, 10-15 times.

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