How are Kegel Exercises Done?
There are three most common forms of urinary incontinence in women:
Stress incontinence: It is the condition of urinary incontinence during the activities increasing the intraabdominal pressure such as coughing, sneezing and laughing. It is caused by the weakened anatomical support of the bladder and urinary tract (urethra). It is the most common form of urinary incontinence in women.
Urge incontinence (overactive bladder): It is a status of inability to hold urine in the bladder until going to the toilet. It may coexist with some nerve and metabolic diseases; however, there is no organic cause in the majority of patients.
Mixed incontinence: In this type of incontinence, both urge and stress incontinence coexist. The treatment is determined based on the dominant type.
If the patient has mild urinary incontinence, doing Kegel exercises by working the perineal muscles is the first recommendation to be given. Kegel exercise is effective in all types of urinary incontinence. After the exercise, the person’s complaints of urinary incontinence reduce and quality of life increases.
In some women, the pelvic muscles get very loose so they cannot contract them. In these women, electromagnetic stimulation (magnetic chair) or electrical stimulation (FES) is first administered to the pelvic muscles. Urinary incontinence is treated by strengthening the muscles. The patient then exercises on her own using the strengthened muscles.
If urinary incontinence problem persists despite exercise and other conservative treatments, this is corrected with an operation lasting 20-30 minutes and the patient is discharged on the same day (TOT: transobturator tape/TVT: tension-free vaginal tape). The postoperative success rate is above 90%. These surgeries have been carried out for 20 years, and 17-year success rates are given in the literature, which is about 90%.
How is Kegel Exercise done?
Kegel exercises are easy exercises that can be done at any time and in any place. However, people need to contract the correct muscles to do these exercises. Stopping to urinate during urination will guide you which muscles you need to work to do the exercise. The muscles you contract to hold urine or gas are the muscles you need to contract to do Kegel exercise. An example of this is to contract the muscles to prevent a pad on the vagina from dropping. These muscles are the muscles used for Kegel exercise. When you exercise, you may feel that the contracted muscles are elevated to some extent.
Kegel exercise can be done at any time and in any place. It can be done while ironing, sitting and watching television. The Kegel exercise program starts with 25 contractions three times a day. In each contraction, it is counted up to ten, and every week the number of these contractions can be increased by adding 25. Following 4 weeks, 100 contractions are done 3 times a day. Although these numbers discourage the person, it is very easy. There are also people recommending 100 repetitions 10 times a day.