What are kegel exercises
Kegel contraction exercises
The Kegel contraction exercises train the pelvic floor muscles of women and men.
Kegel exercises can help with urinary incontinence and can also have an effect on orgasm and ejaculation. Exercises like this are particularly important with increasing age, as the muscles often become slack.
The technique was developed by the US urologist Arnold Kegel in the late 1940s to treat patients with urinary incontinence. The exercises were named after him. Some of the women who did the contraction exercises reported not only improved ability to hold urine, but also increased genital sensation and more intense orgasms.
In male subjects, positive effects were not described until the 1950s - also with regard to premature ejaculations, i.e. premature ejaculation.
Kegel exercises for women
- In addition to continence, a strong pelvic floor can also have a positive effect on sexual sensation and intensify the perception of orgasms.
- The strengthening and tightening of the pelvic floor is sometimes also involved in other forms of movement, such as yoga or Pilates.
- First of all, it is important to become aware of the muscles and to feel them. A concentration exercise can help: A relatively simple method is to lie on your back and raise your knees as you go.
How do the contraction exercises work?
Correct execution is a conscious combination of tensing and lifting the pelvic floor muscles, causing them to contract (contract). A few mind games can help women to tense the muscles in different regions:
- Urethral: Imagine sucking a raisin down your urethra.
- Vaginal: Imagine sucking a ping pong ball up your vagina.
- Rectal: Imagine sucking a marble into your rectum.
The muscles should be kept tense in this position for a few seconds, then loosened again. At first you can try to repeat the exercises 20 times.
It is best to lie on the floor and raise the pelvis a little. The whole body and especially the buttocks should remain as relaxed as possible. Important during the exercises: Don't forget to breathe! Deep, even breathing is essential for training success.
Kegel exercises for men
Targeted pelvic floor training can also help men. For example after prostate operations or urge incontinence to bring unpleasant urine loss under control again.
- Interrupting the stream of urine while urinating: By consciously pulling together (contracting) the pelvic floor muscles, the urine stream can be interrupted while urinating. The urine is then only deposited "in small portions".
Many a man only becomes aware through this contraction exercise that he has powerful muscles in this area of his body. This body experience can also improve ejaculation control. As with any other muscle training, the same applies here: Practice makes perfect.
- Contraction of the anus sphincter: This exercise trains the sphincters and other muscles in the area of the intestinal outlet (anus). Similar to urination, the contraction of the sphincter is based on the imaginary retention of stool.
The muscles should be kept tense in this position for a few seconds, then loosened again. At first you can try to repeat the exercises 20 times. If both exercises are combined, different muscles of the pelvic floor can be strengthened. Both movements should, however, be perceptible separately from one another.
How often should I exercise my pelvic floor?
As with other training methods, regularity is crucial. It is best to have a 15-minute workout every day. To ensure that the exercises are performed correctly, they should be learned under the guidance of a physical therapist. Later, the exercises can also be incorporated independently into everyday situations (sitting or standing).
It takes patience and consistency in pelvic floor exercises, because it can take a few months before an improvement in symptoms is achieved - especially in the case of incontinence. Be sure to talk to your doctor about this.
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Dr. Britta Bürger (first author 2003), nh (2019)
Mag. Julia Wild
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