Kegel exercises are designed to strengthen pelvic floor muscles that have been weakened by age, disease, or other common causes. Like many other health treatments, there are a number of myths surrounding these exercises that have left people confused about and/or bypassing a physical therapy that could be very beneficial to them. Here are three common myths about Kegel exercises to help you determine whether doing them is the right treatment for you.
They Are Only for Women
Possibly the most common myth about Kegel exercises is that they are only for women. While it is true this therapy is most often discussed in the context of female health, these exercises can also help treat problems men suffer from because of a weak pelvic floor. For instance, in addition to treating urinary incontinence, Kegel exercises can help reduce premature ejaculation and improve the strength of erections.
Additionally, neither men nor women have to (or should) wait until they develop problems before they start doing Kegel exercises. Performing these exercises while your pelvic floor is relatively healthy and strong can keep it that way and prevent issues before they begin. Be sure to consult with a doctor first, though, to ensure there aren't any reasons why doing these exercises would be harmful to you (e.g., you may develop a hernia).
Doing Kegels More Often Will Produce Faster Results
Another myth about Kegels—and one that can actually be quite harmful physically—is that doing these exercises more often will produce faster results. This is simply not true. The pelvic floor is just like any other muscle in the body. It takes a certain amount of concerted effort over time to strengthen it and a consistent habit of doing the exercises to maintain the results you achieve. Overtraining the pelvic floor can be counterproductive in the same way over-exercising any other muscle in your body would be.
Most experts recommend starting with doing ten repetitions a day, three times per day and gradually increasing the repetitions as your pelvic floor grows stronger. There should be adequate periods of rest between the times when you exercise, so developing a habit of doing them in the morning, around lunch time, and before bedtime is a practical way of ensuring you get your reps in without overexerting them.
You should begin to see results within three to six weeks, though it may take more or less time depending on your sex and age. If several months pass by without any improvement, however, you may be either exercising the wrong muscles, or there could be another issue causing your pelvic floor problems.
Kegels Can Impede Proper Pelvic Floor Function
Interestingly enough, some people believe that exercising the pelvic floor can actually have an adverse effect on parts of their lives; namely, they think it may hurt their sexual response and—for women—make it harder for them to give birth vaginally. Neither of these statements are true and, in fact, Kegels can significantly improve your performance in both areas.
As noted previously, Kegels strengthen the pelvic floor. For women, these exercises also tone the abdominal muscles, which can actually make it easier to push the baby out during vaginal birth. Additionally, a strong pelvic area can also reduce back pain and leaking during the pregnancy. As far as sex is concerned, Kegel exercises can improve blood flow and lubrication to the genitals, increase control over sexual response, and enhance orgasms.
There are many more myths out there about Kegel exercises. It is best to consult with a healthcare professional for more information about this physical therapy, as well as to get assistance with doing the exercises right.