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Kegel Exercises - Topic Overview

Kegel exercises make your pelvic floor muscles camera.gif stronger. These muscles control your urine flow and help hold your pelvic organs in place.

Doctors often prescribe Kegels for:

  • Stress incontinence. This means leaking urine when you laugh, cough, sneeze, jog, or lift something heavy.
  • Urge incontinence. This is a need to urinate that is so strong you can't reach the toilet in time.
  • Pelvic floor weakness due to childbirth. Childbirth can stretch and weaken pelvic floor muscles. And that can cause urine control problems. It can also allow one or more pelvic organs to sag. When the uterus sags, it's called uterine prolapse. Women can help prevent this problem by doing daily Kegels during and after pregnancy.

How to do Kegel exercises

Kegels are easy to do and can be done anywhere without anyone knowing.

  • Find the muscles you use to stop urinating.
  • Squeeze these muscles for 3 seconds. Then relax for 3 seconds. Your stomach and thigh muscles should not tighten when you do this.
  • Add 1 second each week until you are able to squeeze for 10 seconds each time.
  • Repeat this exercise 10 to 15 times per session. Try to do this at least 3 times a day.
  • Don't do Kegels while you urinate. Doing them during urination can hurt your bladder.

Kegels work best when done on a regular schedule.

Your doctor may want you to try doing Kegels with biofeedback. It lets you to see, feel, or hear when an exercise is being done correctly.

Talk to your doctor if you don't notice improvement after doing Kegels for 3 or 4 months.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: December 20, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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