McLeod Health Blog

Welcome to Our Blog.

At McLeod Health, we are dedicated to providing useful health and medical information to our community. Take a look at our blog categories and choose those that interest you. Be sure to subscribe to each category of interest and we will send you new blog articles as they are posted.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
Posted on in Women's Health

Kegels!? A Funny Name for a Serious Exercise to Help Urine Leakage

Snickering aside, women should be grateful to Gynecologist Arnold Kegel.  In the late 1940s, he developed an exercise for pelvic muscles that offers women huge benefits. Studies show that 70% of women with stress incontinence who use the Kegel exercise will see improvement.  Beyond the leakage issue, Kegels can prepare a pregnant woman’s body for labor and improve your sex life.

“Before your doctor recommends surgery of some type, he or she is likely to suggest the Kegel exercise,” says Dr. Michael Davidson of Advanced Women’s Care.  “Weak pelvic muscles are one cause of urine leakage among women.  Like any other muscle in our body, exercise can strengthen the muscles and give you more control.”

Essentially, a Kegel involves tightening, then releasing the muscles you use when urinating.  Next time you are urinating, try to stop mid-stream.  The muscles you feel are the ones that need strengthening.

The Routine.  Tighten and hold the muscles for 2-5 seconds, then release. Repeat half a dozen times (“reps” in exercise jargon).  And repeat the Kegel exercise several times a day to start. On week two, start extending the time you hold the muscles tight and the number of reps. Continue extending the time and increasing the reps each week.

Don’t expect immediate improvements.  Make Kegels part of your daily routine and you should notice changes in bladder control after about a month.  Keep doing the Kegels, because leakage will return if the pelvic muscles aren’t kept toned.  The good news: once you’ve learned the technique, Kegels can be performed while seated at your desk or watching TV.

See your gynecologist if you have any questions.

Working the Right Muscles.  Studies show that 8 of 10 women can correctly perform a Kegel after reading instruction.  Here’s how to tell if you are working the wrong muscles. Avoid tightening muscles in your chest, stomach, thighs or buttocks.  This won’t help your leakage and may create new aches and pains.  Don’t overdo the Kegels. Your pelvic area may become “muscle bound” and grow too tight for comfortable sexual intercourse.

If you aren’t sure you’re working the right muscles, see your gynecologist.

Kegels Plus.  Some physicians may suggest Kegels as part of therapy also involving medication or using a biofeedback device to ensure you’re exercising the appropriate muscles.

To find a physician, click here.

Sources: McLeod Health, Urology Care Foundation, National Institutes of Health, American Academy of Family Physicians, 

The information on this site is intended to increase your awareness and understanding of specific health issues and
services at McLeod Health. It should not be used for diagnosis or as a substitute for health care by your physician.
To report technical issues, please contact us. Public Access to Information or To Report a Concern.

©2012 McLeod Health. Download Vendor Code of Conduct | HIPAA Notice of Privacy Practices | Patient Bill of Rights
Report a Concern | Visitation | Download McLeod Health Mission & Values