This is a question that I get A LOT. I get this so frequently I should start charging to answer it! Jk, but really. We really do believe this.
How many times have you been to your doctor or your OB and they tell you, “Just do your kegels?” Or they ask “Well, have you been doing your kegels?” Your answer along the lines of, “Yes, on top of the 5000 things I do in a day, I’m doing kegels 500 times a day and holding for 5 minutes.”
Yes, I’m exaggerating. I know that is not feasible. BUT. Hear me out.... What would you think if I said KEGELS ARE NOT THE ANSWER TO EVERTHING.
WHHHHAAATTT?! Yep. I’m being dead serious. Kegels don’t fix everything. I’m a big of the “Don’t do your kegels,” advice club!
Let’s break this down though. I think it means a lot to understand it is important to do your kegels if prescribed by your pelvic floor physical therapist, but maybe you can share with them what you are reading and ask the questions you deserve answers to! Okay!
I’m going to break this down for you:
Kegels Are Good
Kegels Are Bad
Now, please note there are MANY other reasons and things I can get into but I wanted to break it down that way because those are the top 3 things I see in practice.
You cannot expect a kegel to not hurt when you already have tension throughout your pelvic floor, nor can you expect to build strength when you have no ability to relax your pelvic floor.
So, the next question I get is
Then how the heck do I train my pelvic floor?
Well, here are some tips for that:
Learn to breathe properly. Take deep breathes in, use your diaphragm, breathe into all areas of your torso. When you breathe in, begin to feel relaxation/lengthening of your pelvic floor. When you breathe out, just notice the pelvic floor muscles go back to normal.
If you have pelvic floor dysfunction, make sure you see a pelvic floor physical therapist. We are experts in this stuff and can really help you determine if you are a good candidate for kegels or not.
Once you fully feel the relaxation of your pelvic floor, see what you feel when you try a kegel. You should feel a squeeze from the muscles between the legs. No squeezing of the butt, stomach, or hip muscles should be occurring. Just between the legs, an ever so gentle lift.
Add the breathe and the kegel information as described above into normal exercise or activities. One of which is the sit to stand: Sitting on the edge of a chair, take a deep breathe in and relax/lengthen the pelvic floor, as you stand up breathe out and do an ever so gentle lift of the muscles.
Once you get the above down pat, your pelvic floor PT will progress you!
The main point is: get an assessment by a pelvic floor PT before you try to do kegels! They are not the answer to everything....