Vaginal Exercises that strengthen the pelvic muscles involved in urination (Vaginal exercises) are used to treat stress or urge incontinence. Kegel exercises are done as follows:
* The muscles to be exercised are the pelvic muscles. These can be felt by purposely stopping the flow of urine in midstream and starting again. The muscles that squeeze the urethra and anus are the ones involved.
* Remembering what it felt like to control these muscles during urination, the person tries to contract them when not urinating. If the stomach or buttocks muscles tighten, the muscles are not being exercised correctly.
* The person tightens these muscles for 3 seconds and then relaxes for 3 seconds.
* The exercises should be repeated 10 to 15 times per session. The person should do at least three sessions per day.
Kegel exercises can be performed while traveling, at work, or at odd moments during the day. No one will be aware that the person is doing the exercises.
Kegel exercises are often combined with biofeedback techniques to teach the proper exercise methods and maintain exercise effectiveness. Biofeedback allows a person to see, feel, or hear when an exercise is being performed correctly. For women, this can be done by having her place a finger in her vagina or anus to feel it contract when the pelvic muscles are exercised.
More elaborate devices can also be used that measure the pressure of the bladder and abdominal muscles or provide a measurement of the pressure within the vagina.
Another exercise technique involves using a weighted cone that is inserted into the vagina. The woman must contract the pelvic muscles to prevent the cone from dropping out of the vagina. A set of cones identical in size and shape but of increasing weight are provided. As treatment progresses, heavier cones are used that require stronger contractions to keep them in place.
What to Expect After Treatment
Not applicable to this treatment.
Vaginal Exercises may be used to treat:
* Stress incontinence.
* Motor urge incontinence.
Kegel exercises improve urinary incontinence in nearly 80% of those who use them.
There are no risks associated with these treatments.
Kegel exercises with or without biofeedback techniques require a high level of motivation and frequent repetition to be successful.