Create: 07/28/2017 - 04:22
The term Kegel exercise refers to pelvic floor contractions. And if we think about muscles in our body, everywhere in our body, a muscles function is to contract, and it's to relax. And, the pelvic floor is no different.
So, Kegel exercises, or like I said, what I like to refer to as pelvic floor contraction, just refers to the pelvic floor muscles; the muscles in your pelvis that are providing support to the public organs, contracting and relaxing. And a healthy pelvic floor should be able to contract, and just as importantly, it should be able to relax.
And that's kind of what's missing from a lot of programs that women are doing on their own at home, is that they're really focused on the contracting, or the strength piece, and for me, when I'm working with a patient in the office, we're really talking about coordination; the ability to contract, and the ability to relax.
It's really common for a woman to come in and say, "I have this incontinence issue, and I've had it for a while. I'm leaking, and I've been doing my Kegels for the last five years, so I don't really know what you're going to do for me." And, we'll do the pelvic - the physical therapy pelvic exam, and what we find is that her pelvic floor is already quite tight.
That's a really common symptom of having pelvic floor dysfunction; is having just tightness in the pelvic floor. So, if we can get that tone to come down to a more healthy resting tone, then she'll have somewhere to contract to. The problem is they're often just already too tight; there's nowhere to do that contraction to.
So, if you go online, and you're looking at trying to strengthen your pelvic floor, and it talks about tightening your pelvic floor, or strengthening your pelvic floor, it's half the that's half the story. We really need to be able to contract, yes, very important, but we also need to be able to come back down to that healthy resting tone.