Importance of Kegel Exercises

Pelvic floor muscles support the uterus, bladder, and bowel. Many factors can weaken these muscles throughout one’s life, including pregnancy, childbirth, obesity, age, chronic cough, chronic constipation, and a genetic predisposition to weak connective tissue. Kegel exercises are recommended for strengthening the pelvic floor muscles in an effort to delay and possibly prevent pelvic organ prolapse. Pelvic organ prolapse is a condition in which the pelvic floor muscles weaken, causing the pelvic organs to descend and bulge into the vagina. This causes discomforts including uncomfortable pelvic pressure, incontinence, sexual dysfunction, and tissue pushed out through the vaginal opening.

The condition is more common amongst older women, but it is possible for a young woman to have pelvic organ prolapse.  Some causes of pelvic organ prolapse are vaginal birth, hysterectomy, and menopause. During pregnancy, Kegel exercises are recommended highly to ensure that the pelvic floor muscles are strong and well-toned. This will help prevent pelvic organ prolapse later on, but immediate benefits include more comfort towards the due date and less of a chance of developing urine leakage, which is common towards the due date and may continue after childbirth.

Kegel exercises also are recommended highly after childbirth and for women who have trouble reaching orgasm. The exercises tone the pelvic floor muscles and make the vagina tighter. A newly postpartum woman can do the exercises to help her pelvic floor muscles return to their pre-pregnancy strength.
For those just starting to do Kegel exercises, some results should be apparent within approximately 2-3 months. Similar to other types of exercises and physical activity, Kegel exercises should be done frequently in a lifetime to see long-term results.