Many of us understand that Kegel exercises (named after Dr. Arnold Kegel who first encouraged women to exercise their pelvic floor muscles in the 1950’s) are beneficial for anyone with incontinence. However, doing them correctly is another matter – it’s not like you can watch a video and see someone doing Kegel exercises.
Studies show that if you give women verbal instructions on how to do Kegel exercises, only 50% get it right: 25% actually do them in a way that is likely to cause more harm.
For the pelvic floor muscles to work optimally they need to be flexible and extensible – this means we must be able to both contract and relax the muscles fully, and to be able to coordinate them with other muscle groups: especially the diaphragm and the abdominal muscles.
So, if you’ve been diligently doing your Kegel exercises, but have not found they have helped your symptoms: get them checked out by a pelvic health physiotherapist. It may be that you are not exercising correctly, or it may be that your muscles are already tight, and that you need to learn how to relax the muscles rather than tightening them more.