The word Kegel comes from the name of gynecologist Arnold Henry Kegel, who invented the Kegel perineometer (an instrument for measuring the strength of voluntary contractions of the pelvic floor muscles) and Kegel exercises.
Kegel exercises (also called “pelvic floor exercises”) strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. These muscles supports the uterus, bladder, small intestine, and rectum.
Kegel exercises can be performed at any time by both men or women. Below are the function of the pelvic floor muscles and the also the health benefits of performing Kegel exercises.
Function of pelvic floor muscles:
- The muscles keep the organs in pelvis which includes the bladder, uterus and rectum in place and stops them from prolapsing down.
- They are important for keeping a person continent.
- They help with sexual activity. Strong muscles means better contraction of the pelvic floor muscles.
Who Should Perform Kegel Exercises?
- Kegel exercises are recommended for both men and women who suffer from urinary and / or bowel incontinence or other similar problems caused by pelvic floor weakening.
- Pregnant women should perform these exercises as it helps in making the process of labor and delivery faster and less painful.
- These exercises are also good for women who have already had a childbirth as they strengthen the pelvic muscles.
Benefits of Kegel Exercises
Pregnant women who regularly perform Kegel exercises are often found to have an easier childbirth. Contracting and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles during pregnancy strengthens them and help in better control of these muscles during labor and delivery. It also helps in reducing common problems associated with pregnancy such as decreased bladder control and hemorrhoids.
Post pregnancy, these exercises promote perineal healing and better bladder control, and strengthen pelvic muscles. Even middle aged or older woman can perform these exercises to strengthen pelvic floor muscles.
In men, factors such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), prostate removal surgery (radical prostatectomy), diabetes, obesity, and an overactive bladder, can weaken the pelvic floor muscles. These exercises help men who suffer from urinary or bowel incontinence and dribbling after urination.
Note: Kegel exercises should be performed with caution as not doing it properly as stipulated and supposed could lead to other conditions that may require medical attention. For different kinds of Kegel exercises and how they can be performed, click here.