Dr. MJ Bazos MD,
Incontinence: Kegel Exercises for Your Pelvic Muscles
How do pelvic muscles get weak?
Pelvic muscles help stop the flow
of urine. Pregnancy, childbirth and being overweight can weaken the pelvic
muscles. Fortunately, pelvic muscles are just like other muscles--exercises can
make them stronger. Women who leak urine may have better control of these
muscles by doing pelvic muscle exercises called Kegel exercises.
Which muscles control my bladder?
At the bottom of the pelvis,
several layers of muscle stretch between your legs. The muscles attach to the
front, back and sides of the pelvic bones. Two pelvic muscles do most of the
work. The biggest one stretches like a hammock. The other is shaped like a
These are the same muscles that you would
use to try to stop the flow of urine. They are the muscles you will exercise and
How do I exercise
You can exercise
almost anywhere and any time--while driving in a car, at your desk or watching
TV. To exercise these muscles, just pull in or "squeeze" your pelvic muscles (as
if you are trying to stop urine flow). Hold this squeeze for about 10 seconds,
then rest for 10 seconds. Do 3 to 4 sets of 10 contractions per day.
Be patient and continue to exercise.
It takes time to strengthen the pelvic muscles, just like it takes time to
improve the muscles in your arms, legs or abdomen. You may not notice any change
in bladder control until after 6 to 12 weeks of daily exercises. Still, most
women notice an improvement after just a few weeks.
A few points to remember:
- Weak pelvic muscles often lead to urine leakage.
- Daily exercises can strengthen pelvic muscles.
- These exercises often improve bladder control.
- Ask your doctor or nurse if you are squeezing the
- Tighten your pelvic muscle before sneezing,
lifting or jumping. This can prevent pelvic muscle damage and urine leakage.
- Continue to exercise. If the exercises work,
continue to do them, just like any other exercises.
Daily pelvic muscle
I exercised my
pelvic muscles ______ times daily.
I spent _____ minutes exercising.
At each exercise session, I contracted my pelvic muscles _____