You’ve likely heard of Kegel exercises, even if you aren’t one hundred percent sure what they are, or why someone would do them.
The name Kegel comes from the American gynecologist Arnold Kegel, who was the first to come up with the idea that doing exercises could help with issues related to weak pelvic floor muscles.
If you’re familiar with Kegel exercises, then the advice to do them usually comes with a long list of reasons why using them to strengthen the pelvic floor is important.
Maybe you’ve heard that Kegels can help prevent urinary incontinence, or that they can help make sex feel better and increase the strength of your orgasms.
These are some compelling reasons to do Kegels, however as a clinic offering pelvic floor physical therapy in Washington DC, we want you to be aware that it’s possible to get too much of a good thing.
Keep reading to learn more about Kegel exercises, and why you don’t want to overdo them.
What Are Kegel Exercises?
Kegel exercises can be used to help strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor, which are found near the base of your pelvis, between your hips.
Although commonly thought of as something primarily for those assigned female at birth, they can be useful regardless of your gender.
If you see a postpartum physical therapist, they may suggest these exercises as they can help you restore your pelvic floor after childbirth.
These exercises involve tightening and releasing the pelvic floor muscles, the same way you would if you needed to hold in your pee when you can’t get to a bathroom.
What Are Your Pelvic Floor Muscles?
The pelvic floor muscles are muscles which are both internal and external to the pelvic region.
They are located between the tailbone and the pubic bone and support the bowel and bladder and can be used to start and stop the flow of urine and feces.
Pelvic floor muscles also provide support to the uterus, bladder, rectum, and other internal organs.
How To Find Your Pelvic Floor Muscles
If you’re new to Kegels, then the first step is to locate your pelvic floor muscles.
For those assigned female at birth, this can be done by inserting a clean finger into your vagina and tightening your vaginal muscles around it.
Another method, which can be used regardless of gender, is, when you’re using the toilet, to stop urinating mid flow; the muscles used to do this are the pelvic floor muscles.
Although this is a great way to determine where your pelvic floor muscles are, and how to contract them, this should not be done on a regular basis, as it can lead to an increased risk of urinary tract infections.
For those assigned male at birth, you can also tighten the muscles you would use to keep from passing gas.
Tips For How To Do Kegels Well
It’s important to note that while Kegels is the most popular name for these exercises, in the physical therapy world we refer to them as “pelvic floor contractions”.
Regardless of the name, however, once you’ve located your pelvic floor muscles, you can start to perform these exercises.
Start by making sure you have an empty bladder – as noted above, holding in your urine can lead to a higher incidence of bladder infections.
If you feel lower back pain or abdominal pain after performing Kegel exercises, this means you’re not doing them correctly.
While you contract your pelvic floor muscles, your abdominal and back muscles as well as your glutes should remain largely at rest.
Do You Need To Do Kegels?
The issue with Kegels comes in when they become overused.
While they are used to strengthen muscles, you run the risk of these muscles becoming too tight or over tightening muscles that are already tight.
If your pelvic floor muscles are overworked and unable to relax then it can lead to problems such as trouble controlling them, which can lead to urinary incontinence and painful intercourse.
If you’ve been doing pelvic floor contractions and are experiencing any of these issues, potentially due to overworked pelvic floor muscles, then that’s where a physical therapist can help.
That’s when it’s a good idea to…
Book Your Appointment With Capitol Physical Therapy Today
Are you experiencing issues which could be related to weak pelvic floor muscles, such as urinary incontinence or pain during sexual intercourse?
Did you go a little overboard when trying to follow the advice from a blogger or TikToker about how and when to perform these exercises and now want help trying to undo constricted, tight muscles?
Remember, it’s always best to come talk to a professional in a safe, judgment free space.
We’re Capitol Physical Therapy, and if you’re experiencing issues with your pelvic floor muscles, whether they are actually weak and need strengthening, or if you’ve “over trained” them and need some help to relax, we’ve got you covered.
Helping clients in Washington DC and Upper Marlboro Maryland, we assist with these issues and many more.
Book an appointment today with one of our qualified and professional physical therapists today.
1331 H St NW #200,
Washington, DC 20005
9560 Pennsylvania Ave. # 202,
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
Capitol Physical Therapy offers orthopedic and other pain related solutions, with our versitile team of physical therapists in Washington, DC