Kegal Exercises

Pelvic Muscle Retraining for Patients with Fecal Incontinence.

Kegel exercises are to help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles to help with bladder and bowel leaking, constipation and pelvic and rectal pain.

To do these exercises it is important to isolate pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic floor muscles start at the pubic bone (in the front) and end in the tail bone (in the back). The pelvic floor muscles are voluntary muscles like the muscles in your back or your legs. They support the bladder, the uterus (in women), and the rectum. They can be strengthened and relaxed by exercise to help with bladder and bowel control. When doing the Kegel exercises, keep all your other muscles relaxed and continue to breathe normally. Try not to tighten the muscles of your abdomen (the belly), the legs, or the buttocks.

To do the Kegel exercises, tighten the floor muscles as if you are trying to keep from passing gas or trying to stop the flow of urine. Try to hold this for 10 seconds. When the muscles are weak, it is hard to hold them tight for this length of time. If you feel your other muscles tightening up, or if you feel the pelvic muscles letting go, it is okay, just let them go. The next step is to let the muscles relax for 10 seconds. If the muscles do not feel like they have relaxed, you may relax them another 10 seconds.

One set of Kegel exercises is 5 repetitions (contract/relax, contract/relax, contract/relax, etc.). Do 1 set 10 times a day. You may do this about once an hour. Try to do the Kegel exercises at cues, like commercials on TV, stopping at red lights or hanging up the telephone. As the muscles become stronger, you may increase the number of sets per day. You may use 100 repetitions a day as a goal, but if your symptoms are under control at a lesser number of repetitions it is alright to stop at that number.

REMEMBER: You must continue doing the Kegel exercises from now on. Once the muscles are back in shape, they must be kept in shape or they will return to their weakened state. Try to do the exercises daily once your symptoms are under control. If you do not do them daily, try to do them at least three times a week.

The following is a sample plan of doing the Kegel exercises:

Week 1: 5 repetitions/10 times a day.
Week 2: 5 repetitions/15 times a day, or 10 repetitions/7 times a day.
Week 3: 5 repetitions/20 times a day, or 10 repetitions/10 times a day.