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Incontinence FAQs (cont.)

What are Kegel exercises?

Women are often instructed to do Kegel exercises to strengthen their pelvic-floor muscles. Kegel exercises are most often taught at childbirth classes. While Kegel exercises assist in vaginal childbirth, they can also strengthen the muscles that help you hold back urine. Kegel exercises are believed to reduce the incidence of stress and urge incontinence. Unfortunately, Kegel exercises are often done incorrectly, thus offering no benefit. The following instructions describe the correct way to do a Kegel exercise:

  • Find the correct muscles by inserting your first two fingers into the vagina. Squeeze your pelvic muscles as if you are holding urine. The muscles you feel tighten around your fingers are the muscles you need to use when performing Kegel exercises.

  • Squeeze and hold these muscles tight for three to 10 seconds, then relax the same muscles for three to 10 seconds. Do this for 10 to 20 repetitions, three times each day.
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