Kegel exercises can strengthen the pelvic muscles and ligaments to treat and prevent urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence, and other problems caused by having weak pelvic floor muscles.
To do Kegel exercises:
- Squeeze your muscles as if you were trying not to pass gas. Or squeeze your muscles as if you were stopping the flow of urine. Your belly, legs, and buttocks shouldn't move.
- Hold the squeeze for 3 seconds, then relax for 5 to 10 seconds.
- Start with 3 seconds, then add 1 second each week until you are able to squeeze for 10 seconds.
- Repeat the exercise 10 times a session. Do 3 to 8 sessions a day.
When learning what muscles to squeeze, you can try stopping the flow of urine a few times. But don't make it a practice to do Kegels while urinating.
If doing these exercises causes pain, stop doing them and talk with your doctor. Sometimes people have pelvic floor muscles that are too tight. In these cases, doing Kegel exercises may cause more problems.
If you aren't sure how to do these exercises, talk to your doctor about getting a referral to a pelvic floor physical therapist.
Current as of: March 1, 2023
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Elizabeth T. Russo MD - Internal Medicine & Kara C. Taggart MD - Urology