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Kegel exercises don’t require special clothing or equipment. They’re easy to learn and simple to do. And if you do them right, no one can tell you’re doing them, so they can be done almost anywhere. Your doctor, nurse, or physical therapist can answer any questions you have and help you get started.

Cutaway view of bladder and urethra A Weak Pelvic Floor

 The pelvic floor muscles may weaken due to aging, pregnancy and vaginal childbirth, injury, surgery, chronic cough, or lack of exercise. If the pelvic floor is weak, your bladder and other pelvic organs may sag out of place. The urethra may also open too easily and allow urine to leak out. Kegel exercises can help you strengthen your pelvic floor muscles so they can better support the pelvic organs and control urine flow.

How Kegel Exercises Are Done

Try each of the Kegel exercises described below. When you’re doing them, try not to move your leg, buttock, or stomach muscles.

  • While you’re urinating, try to stop the flow of urine. Start and stop it as often as you can.

  • Contract as if you were stopping your urine stream, but do it when you’re not urinating.

  • Tighten your rectum as if trying not to pass gas. Contract your anus, but don’t move your buttocks.

Helpful Hints

  • Do your Kegels as often as you can. The more you do them, the faster you’ll feel the results.

  • Pick an activity you do often as a reminder. For instance, do your Kegels every time you sit down.

  • Tighten your pelvic floor before you sneeze, get up from a chair, cough, laugh, or lift. This protects your pelvic floor from injury and can help prevent urine leakage.

Try to hold each Kegel for a slow count to five. You probably won’t be able to hold them for that long at first, but keep practicing. It will get easier as your pelvic floor gets stronger. Eventually, special weights that you place in your vagina may be recommended to help make your Kegels even more effective.

Medical Reviewer: Bellendir, Trina, MSPT, CLT Last Annual Review Date: May 5, 2012
© 2000-2014 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

Reference: Overactive Bladder section on Better Medicine


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Which of the following is NOT a symptom of overactive bladder?