Pelvic Muscle (Kegel) Exercises
(provided to patients at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, NY City)
Pelvic muscle exercises strengthen the pelvic muscles needed to help you
regain urinary control. This card will give you information about them.
How Do I IDENTIFY MY PELVIC MUSCLES?
To identify your pelvic muscles:
1. Voluntarily stop the stream of urine.
2. Tighten the muscles that are used to hold back gas when you don't want to pass it.
How Do I KNOW I AM USING THE CORRECT MUSCLES?
Begin by urinating. While the urine stream is flowing, voluntarily stop the
stream and count to five; then begin to urinate again. Repeat the steps
twice. Never use your stomach, leg, or buttocks muscles. Exercising these
muscles will not help you to regain urinary control. To find out if you are
also contracting your stomach muscle, place your hand on your abdomen while
you squeeze your pelvic muscle. If you feel your abdomen move, you are using
the wrong muscles. If you are having difficulty identifying these muscles,
contact your doctor or nurse.
How OFTEN SHOULD I DO THE EXERCISES?
Exercise these muscles throughout the day, not just when you urinate. Do ten
exercises at least every hour while you are awake for a total of 120-200 a
day. Tighten the pelvic muscle and hold for ten seconds; then relax the
muscle completely for ten seconds. The muscle may start to tire after six to
eight exercises. If this happens, stop and go back to exercising later.
WHERE SHOULD I DO THE EXERCISE?
These exercises can be practiced anywhere and anytime. Most people prefer
exercising lying down on the bed or sitting in a chair. However, you should
be able to do them in any position. To avoid urine leakage, tighten the
muscle before you walk, before you sneeze, on the way to the bathroom, during
urination, and when you stand up.
WHEN WILL I NOTICE A CHANGE?
After six to eight weeks of consistently daily exercises, you will have fewer
urinary accidents. After three to four months, you will notice an even
bigger difference with better urinary control.
CAN THESE EXERCISES HARM ME?
No, these exercises cannot harm you in any way. Most people find them
relaxing and easy. If you get back pain or stomach pain after you exercise,
you are probably trying too hard and using stomach or back muscles. If you
experience headaches, you are also tensing your chest muscles and probably
holding your breath.
[For a diagram showing the pelvic floor muscles, go to this page.]
|This information is provided for educational purposes only and does not replace or amend professional medical advice. Unless otherwise stated and credited, the content of Phoenix5 (P5) is by and the opinion of and copyright © 2000 Robert Vaughn Young. All Rights Reserved. P5 is at <http://www.phoenix5.org>. P5's policy regarding privacy and right to reprint are at <www.phoenix5.org/infopolicy>.