If you have been reading a lot about vaginal tightening or about pregnancy, then you must have also read about kegel exercises. It’s the exercise most prescribed by doctors for women who have just given birth, but what really are kegels and do they really help?
Understanding the Problem
Kegel exercises target the pelvic floor muscles and aim to strengthen them. The pelvic floor muscles are the ones that act as the main controller for your bladder and bowel movements. It also contributes to vaginal tightness, vaginal tone and strength. They are the muscles that span from your pubic bone to the base of your spine. They support your bladder, womb and bowels, keeping them in place and giving you the control to hold your pee and poop in.
During pregnancy the pelvic muscles are the ones supporting the weight of the baby and when a woman gives birth, the pelvic muscles take the most beating as it stretches to give way for the baby. This causes a weakening of the muscles that in turn can cause a weakened bladder and bowel control as well as a looser vagina. Another cause of weakening pelvic muscles is through the wear and tear of the body due to aging.
This weakness in the pelvic floor muscles causes you to leak a little pee or poop when you cough, sneeze or just with any little exertion or force that comes from your lower abdominal muscles. Over time, the problem just gets worse. There will be less sensation between you and your partner during sex. If you do nothing to remedy the muscle weakness in your pelvic muscles, you will be in high risk for something called pelvic organ prolapse.
Pelvic organ prolapse refers to the condition in which your uterus, vagina, bowel and bladder gets displaced from their normal position and pushes lower past your belly. This is a serious condition that causes pain and discomfort.
How Kegel Exercises Help
Kegels will help you strengthen your pelvic muscles. When your pelvic muscles are strong, you will have more control in keeping your pee and poop in. It will also help you tighten your vaginal area in order to increase the sensation during intercourse.
It is often recommended for women who are pregnant and those that have just given birth to prevent vaginal looseness and urinary incontinence.
You have to keep in mind that kegels alone will not solve your problem if you have severe urinary and fecal incontinence and if you have a very loose vagina.
In strengthening the pelvic muscles, you have to understand that estrogen plays a major factor in it. Estrogen is the one that maintains the vaginal tightness and elasticity, without it, you will have a hard time regaining your pre-pregnancy and pre-childbirth vaginal tightness. It is also the one that maintains the strength and tone of the pelvic muscles. Without estrogen, no matter how much you practice your kegels, it will still not be enough to rejuvenate your pelvic muscles.
How to Do Kegel Exercises
1. Find the target pelvic muscles.
In order to make sure that you are doing the exercise right, you have to first identify your pelvic muscles. To do so, just identify the muscles that stop your urination midstream.
It is important to note that stopping your urination midstream should only be used in identifying your pelvic muscles and NOT during exercise. Empty your bladder before doing kegels to avoid any discomfort. When you have identified the correct muscles, you can now start. A lot of beginners find it easiest to do them while lying down at first.
Using vaginal weights will also help you find the right muscles for your exercise. You can get one here: vkegel.com
2. Tighten and relax your pelvic muscles.
Once you have identified the correct muscles, you can start contracting your pelvic muscles for five seconds and then relaxing for five seconds. Try doing five repetitions in a row. Every week, add 1 second to your routine until you have reached the 10 second mark.
3. Maintain your focus.
Focus on tightening your pelvic muscles only. Avoid flexing your abdomen, thighs and buttocks. Keep an even breathing pattern and avoid holding your breath in.
4. Repeat daily.
Make kegels part of your daily routine and repeat it at least 3 times a day and 10 repetitions per session.
Estrogen is the one that is responsible for strengthening and maintaining the strength and tone of the pelvic muscles. As we all grow old, the body also stops producing estrogen. Without it, there will be vaginal and pelvic muscle weakening, amongst other things.
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