“54% of women who are simply told how to do Kegels actually perform them incorrectly” says Karen Liberi, the *Pelvic PT expert we sat down with to get the true low down on Kegel exercises. Why do we need a strong pelvic floor? Because the “sling” of pelvic floor muscles support the uterus, bowels and bladder and those organs dropping or leaking is undesirable at best.
So how do we do them correctly? Karen prescribes the following: The vaginal and rectal openings pull away from the underwear and are lifted up towards the belly – this allows the muscles to be strengthened for the job of providing pelvic organ support. Visualize with these cool methods:
- Closing the eyes, pretend your vagina is sipping a straw of some healthy golden elixir. Ask your physician or Pelvic PT practitioner the count and hold ideal for you.
- Picture your pelvic floor as an elevator. Draw it up, up and up to the Penthouse. Then relax it to the ground floor. 6 weeks of training usually does the trick. But keep reading………….
The ability to RELAX the muscles correctly is also part of Kegels or pelvic floor exercises (PFEs). “Women who have pelvic pain or a higher tone pelvic floor – the training will be more of a down training, allowing the muscles to relax and lengthen”. A pelvic floor therapist is an excellent coach for teaching women how to use their pelvic floor muscles in a good functional way.
Functional use of the pelvic floor is something else Karen and her colleagues at NWO Center for Urogynecology and Women’s Health emphasize and is key to success with continence. Functional use means, engaging the pelvic floor muscles when a stressor like a cough, sneeze or lifting the cute grandchild occurs. We can have fit, strong pelvic floors and still leak if we fail to engage the supportive organ muscles at the time they receive pressure. It is highly recommended that you consult with a pelvic floor therapist before starting a PFE routine, especially if you are post-partum, have any pelvic pain or don’t have a great body awareness.
How Kegels impact orgasm, Kegel exercise aids and when NOT to do Kegels next time. Stay tuned and leave us your comments. We are happy to address questions too!
*Karen Liberi MS, MPT, WCS. Karen is one of only 300 physical therapists in the US with the designation of Women’s Health Clinical Specialists. She is a compassionate physical therapist who helps women with bladder and bowel concerns, pelvic pain, abdominal pain and sexual dysfunction. She and her team are known to successfully help people who have tried everything and almost given up.