By now you have probably heard a thing or two about Kegel exercises. A common misconception being that Kegel exercises are for post-pregnancy vaginal rejuvenation. Not only can it help manage and prevent physical problems such as incontinence - leakage of urine or stool that you can’t control – but exercising can improve your sexual health and pleasure! Now who doesn’t want that?...
Kegel Exercises can improve your sexual health and pleasure by:
• Relaxing your vaginal muscles, which lets your vagina be more open. This is helpful if you have pain during sexual intercourse, pelvic exams, or both.
• Improving blood circulation to your vagina and pelvic floor. This can help increase sexual arousal. When your blood circulation is being pulled forward during arousal your clitoris becomes engorged and fills the nerve endings with excitation, increasing sensitivity, and will help you achieve orgasm.
• Increasing vaginal lubrication (wetness).
What are Pelvic Floor Muscles?
Your pelvic floor is just that, the bottom of your pelvis which supports your pelvic organs (uterus, bladder, and bowel). These muscles are commonly used to stop your stream of urine or keep yourself from passing gas or having bowel movements (pooping). They’re also the muscles that can contract (tighten) during an orgasm.
How to Identify Yours:
• Imagine your peeing, contract the muscles you would use to stop the stream of urine.
*Do not actually practice stopping your urination stream, this can cause your bladder to not fully empty leading to high risk of UTI’s.*
• Contract the muscles you would use to hold back a bowel movement. Your body should not lift up when contracting these muscles.
• Insert a finger or vaginal dilator into your vagina, then contract your pelvic floor muscles around your finger or dilator. You should feel your vagina tighten and your pelvic floor move upward.
TIP: Try not to use your abdomen, leg, or butt muscles when contracting your pelvic floor muscles. To know if you are using the wrong muscles, place a hand on your stomach and the other hand underneath your butt or leg. Squeeze the pelvic floor, if you feel your stomach, leg, or butt move you’re not using the right muscles.
How to Practice Your Kegel Exercises
To correctly exercise the pelvic floor, do 2 to 3 sessions of Kegel exercises everyday to get the best results.
1. Get into a comfortable position so your body is relaxed.
2. Breathe in deeply keeping your pelvis relaxed.
3. Breathe out slowly through your mouth as you gently contract your pelvic floor muscles.
4. Keep your pelvic floor muscles contracted for 3 to 6 seconds (or until your muscles tire) while you breathe out.
5. Breathe in again and release the contraction of your muscles.
6. Relax completely for 6 to 10 seconds. It is very important to you relax fully between each contraction.
Repeat this exercise 10 times per session. Repeat session multiple times throughout the day.
They should not be painful. If you feel pain during or after Kegel exercises, you may not be doing the exercise correctly, or Kegel exercises may not be appropriate for you. Contact your healthcare provider to discuss this.
Make goals for yourself to increase the length of your contractions up to 10 seconds long. With equal or greater time to relax the muscles in between.
Go on and go forth and get your exercises in!