Loading
(352) 331-3332 Gainesville
(386) 754-1744 Lake City  
Offering late hours to serve you better!

Protecting your Pelvic floor- Kegel Exercises

Gainesville gynecology specialists discuss the importance of a strong pelvic floor for all women

As a woman, maintaining the integrity of your pelvic floor is an important part of maintaining your overall heath, regardless if you are approaching childbearing or passing through menopause. Understanding the role your pelvic floor plays in your health and wellness may give you the motivation to keep it toned and healthy.

At its most basic level, a Kegel exercise consists of tightening and releasing the PC muscle. If you are unfamiliar with the action of your PC muscle, you can isolate it by stopping the flow of your urine midstream

About the Pelvic Floor

Your pelvic floor is a band of muscles in the shape of a figure eight that surrounds your vaginal opening and rectum. These muscles act as a kind of hammock that supports the organs of your pelvic region, such as your uterus and bladder. The pubococcygeus muscle (PC muscle) is a part of your overall pelvic floor muscular makeup.

This muscle helps you control the flow of your urine, and its strength is also often associated with the increased ability to orgasm.

Over the course of a woman's life, the hammock of pelvic muscles becomes stretched and can loose its integrity from hormonal changes and the aging process. The integrity of the pelvic floor can also be jeopardized by other life factors such as:

  • The added weight of pregnancy
  • Vaginal birth
  • Surgery in the pelvic region, including C-sections and hysterectomies
  • Being overweight
  • Chronic constipation or coughing

Dangers of a Weak Pelvic Floor

A weakened pelvic floor presents several health risks for women:

  • Pelvic organ prolapse : Prolapses occur when your pelvic floor is too weak to hold up one or more of your pelvic organs and they fall from their normal place to walls of your vagina or, in worse case scenarios, protrude from the vagina. Bladder, uterine, vaginal, bowel, and rectum prolapses can occur.
  • Incontinence : A weakened PC muscle is not able to properly support the weight of a full bladder and control urine output, leading to incontinence.
  • Lack of sexual sensation : Women with a compromised pelvic floor may have less sexual sensation and trouble reaching orgasm.

How to Keep the Pelvic Floor Strong: Kegels

To help avoid the problems that arise from a weak pelvic floor, most gynecologists recommend that all women from their childbearing years onward should exercise the muscles of the pelvic floor by doing Kegel exercises.

At its most basic level, a Kegel exercise consists of tightening and releasing the PC muscle. If you are unfamiliar with the action of your PC muscle, you can isolate it by stopping the flow of your urine midstream (though you shouldn't regularly perform Kegels while going the bathroom).

Once you identify your PC muscle, tighten the muscle as you exhale, which ensures that you aren't actually using the surrounding muscles of your thighs and buttocks. All you need to do is tighten and release this muscle, and you're doing Kegels.

There are many different Kegel variations that you can try:

  • Rapidly contract and relax your muscles, working up to a count of 100, then 200, a day.
  • Contract the muscles and hold them taut for as long as you can. Try working up to holding the Kegel for 10, then 15, then 20 seconds.
  • Imagine the muscles of your vagina as a building, with your pelvic floor as the first floor of the building and the top floor as your bellybutton. Slowly tighten your muscles upward, as if it they are an elevator moving up through the building. Hold at the top floor then slowly release downwards.
  • Tighten your muscles a little and hold for five seconds, tighten a little more and hold for another five seconds. Tighten as hard as you can and hold for five more seconds. Then reverse the motion, relaxing slightly and holding for five seconds, then relaxing a little more, holding for five seconds, then relaxing the muscles completely.

Even though well woman care providers recommend that you do Kegel exercises everyday, Kegels are at least convenient. You can do them anytime, anywhere, without anyone ever knowing the difference. Picking a specific time of day can help you remember to do them. Some examples include:

  • At each stoplight while driving to work
  • Reading the morning news
  • For new moms, while feeding your baby

It doesn't matter where or when you do your Kegels - just try to do them everyday.

Kegel Effectiveness

If you are doing Kegels because you suffer from urinary incontinence, it might take two to three months of practicing the exercises to help reduce your incontinence. But even though your symptoms aren't instantly relieved, you will likely be surprised and encouraged at how rapidly your muscles strengthen.

For example, you may find that you are only able to do 50 basic Kegels at first, or only able to do the first half of an elevator Kegel, and that's okay. Just do what you can and you will find that with a little practice you can challenge yourself as you gain more muscular control.

Kegel exercises, when done regularly, can help reverse some incontinence, prevent pelvic organ prolapse, and increase sexual sensation. They are the important tool that helps keep your pelvic floor strong for life.

If you have questions about Kegels, pelvic organ prolapse, incontinence, or pregnancy and birth, don't hesitate to call and schedule an appointment with Gainesville-based gynecologists at All About Women.

Our physician and midwifery staff is here to provide support throughout the many stages of a woman's life we invite you to browse our knowledge center and blog to learn more today.

Contact us
‹ All About Women OB/GYN Knowledge Center
 
Gainesville
6440 W Newberry Road, Suite 111
Gainesville, FL 32605
(352) 331-3332
Lake City
4447 NW American Lane, Suite 102
Lake City, FL 32055
(386) 754-1744

Gainesville and Lake City OB/GYN Care

OB/GYN doctors at All About Women, Obstetrics & Gynecology offer personalized, technologically advanced obstetrics and gynecology services from Board Certified OB/GYB physicians. Besides expert women's healthcare, permanent birth control and prenatal care, OB/GYN doctors also offers advanced hysterectomy surgery in and around the Gainesville area.


Women's Health Care in Alachua & Columbia Counties

With offices in Gainesville and Lake City, Florida, All About Women, M.D. provides expert OB/GYN services covering the entire range of women's healthcare needs. Our OB/GYN physicians and nurse midwives provide expert care during pregnancy as well as state of the art in-office treatments for gynecologic disorders including Novasure endometrial ablation to treat/stop heavy menstrual bleeding.

Personalized & Expert Prenatal Care

Gainesville obstetricians at All About Women, M.D. help ensure pregnancy goes as smoothly as possible by offering the best prenatal care available. And for those having difficulty getting pregnant, AAW obstetricians and gynecologists offer couples the best infertility help and treatment available.


Advanced Minimally Invasive Surgery: daVinci Surgical System

Clinic founder Dr. Anthony Agrios, Board Certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist also specializes in the daVinci Robotic surgery system, a minimally invasive option commonly used for a hysterectomy and other procedures. Instead of creating several small incisions like traditional surgical methods, OB/GYN surgeons simply open one incision with the daVinci system to complete the procedure. Not only do patients experience less pain and blood loss, they recover and get back to normal much faster.


Pregnancy & Prenatal Care: Creative Pregnancy Announcement : Fruits for Pregnant Women

OB/GYN Tips: Choosing an OB/GYN : Robotic Hysterectomy

Infertility & Reproduction Health: Infertility Treatment : Permanent Birth Control

Women's Health: Preventive Care : Well Women Care : Mammogram Screenings : Abnormal Periods

Gainesville Maternity Care

 

FL OBGYN   Services
All About Women
Gainesville and Lake City, Florida Obstetrics & Gynecology

Offices conveniently located in the heart of North Florida (Alachua County & Columbia County). Serving women of all ages and backgrounds
in and around Ocala, Williston, Chiefland, Perry, Live Oak, Lake City, Starke, Palatka and Gainesville.