The Truth About Kegels

You may have come across advice on the internet that suggests doing kegels to strengthen your pelvic floor and address your symptoms, whether it be leaking urine, pelvic pain, or anything in between. The truth is, doing kegels can be ineffective, or even harmful depending on the root cause of your symptoms. 

Before diving into why, let’s first talk about what a kegel is. A kegel, or pelvic floor contraction, is when you use the pelvic floor muscles to squeeze and lift the muscles around the anus and vaginal opening, if you have one. 

Without receiving a pelvic floor exam from a healthcare professional, it is difficult to know whether your pelvic floor muscles are weak or strong, tight or relaxed. Many people with pelvic floor symptoms, including pain, incontinence, and even prolapse have tight pelvic floor muscles. This means that contracting your pelvic floor, or doing kegels, can actually make the problem worse. 

To be clear, we don’t think kegels are all bad. In the right situation, done correctly, they can be a huge help. If kegels aren’t helping with your problem, try doing diaphragmatic breathing and stretches like child’s pose and happy baby. These can help lengthen the pelvic floor muscles and allow them to function better. If you aren’t seeing the results you want with home exercises alone, a comprehensive evaluation with one of our pelvic floor experts can help uncover the cause of your symptoms and get you on the road to feeling your best! You can schedule your evaluation online here or request a free 15 minute phone consultation to learn more about what personalized treatment will look like for you. Other questions? Call us at 202-803-2068. 

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