Kegel exercises are exercises that strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. These are the set of muscles and ligaments that support your bladder and help close your urethra, the tube that drains your bladder.
Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles will lessen and possibly prevent stress incontinence (leakage of urine when you cough, laugh, sneeze, or strain).
Your pelvic floor muscles can become stretched and slack as a result of childbirth, aging, or a hereditary weakness. The sagging muscles change the relationship between your bladder and urethra, which allows urine to leak.
If you have gone through menopause and have low levels of the female hormone estrogen, you may develop stress incontinence because of decreased tone in the urethra and surrounding tissue.
Also, stress incontinence can be caused by problems such as diabetes mellitus, extreme obesity, and chronic and recurrent urinary tract infections.
First, practice starting and stopping your urine stream while urinating so that it is clear which muscles you will use for these exercises.
When you are not urinating, tighten these muscles and hold the contraction for a count of 4. Do this 10 to 20 times, and allow the muscles to relax completely between contractions.
Repeat this series 10 times a day.
Performing fewer repetitions than this will lower the effectiveness of the exercises. You may have to do the exercises faithfully for 2 to 3 months before you notice any improvement.
You can do Kegel exercises anywhere: while sitting at a desk, waiting for a bus, washing dishes, driving a car, waiting in line, or watching television. No one will know you are doing them.