Kegels Help Treat Incontinence

Urinary incontinence can often be treated with Kegel (rhymes with bagel) exercises. These exercises help strengthen the muscles that control the bladder and can be done anywhere, any time, in just five minutes a day. Here’s how:

  • Find the right muscles. Imagine that you’re sitting on a marble and want to pick it up with your vagina.
  • Be careful not to tighten your stomach, legs, or buttock muscles at the same time. Don’t hold your breath and don’t practice while urinating.
  • At first, find a quiet spot to practice—your bathroom or bedroom—so you can concentrate. Start by doing your Kegels while lying down so your muscles don’t need to work against gravity. Pull in the pelvic muscles and hold for a count of three. Then relax for a count of three. Work up to three sets of 10 repetitions.
  • When your muscles get stronger, do your exercises sitting or standing. Try to hold the contraction longer, ideally 5-10 seconds at a time.
  • Be patient. You may not feel your bladder control improve for three to six weeks.