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What are Kegel exercises?
The so-called Kegel exercises are simple voluntary contractions of the pelvic floor muscles that support the uterus, urethra, bladder and rectum. These exercises owe their name to the American gynecologist A. Kegel, who conceived and promoted them after discovering their surprising usefulness. The main goal of Kegel exercises is to improve muscle tone by strengthening the pelvic floor muscles.
Why carry them out?
Certain factors can weaken the pelvic muscles: the main culprits are pregnancy, obesity, weight lifting and menopause. The weakening of the pelvic floor can cause more or less important discomfort, which negatively affects both the physical and sexual sphere.
Constantly practicing Kegel exercises can improve the tone and strength of the pelvic floor; for this purpose, Kegel gymnastics finds application in various fields:
- Stress urinary incontinence
- Uterine prolapse
- Premature ejaculation
- Erectile dysfunction
- Anorgasmia (inability to reach orgasm)
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia (to treat prostate pain and swelling)
Kegel exercises, completely "discreet", can be performed anywhere, and at any time of the day: sitting, standing, lying down or while bathing.
To perform them you need simple controlled movements:
- Empty the bladder completely: performing Kegel exercises with a full bladder can weaken the pubococcygeus muscle and cause subsequent difficulties in completely emptying the bladder
- Contract the pelvic floor muscles for 5-10 seconds
- Slowly release the aforementioned muscles for the same period of time
- Do not move your legs, glutes or abdominal muscles during Kegel gymnastics
- Repeat the series 10 times, 2-3 times throughout the day
Initially, it may be difficult to contract the pelvic muscles for 10 seconds: if this is the case, it is recommended to start gradually, first contracting the muscles for 4-5 seconds, then gradually increasing the contraction time up to 10 seconds.
Some people struggle to identify the pubococcygeus muscle: to recognize and identify this muscle, it is advisable to stop the flow of urine for a few seconds while urinating.
On medical advice, it is possible to use some devices or tools, useful for identifying the pubococcygeus muscle and facilitating its exercise. The most used medical devices for this purpose are barbells, vaginal cones and specific springs.
Kegel exercises and urinary incontinence
Stress urinary incontinence does not necessarily require specific pharmacological treatments: in such situations, Kegel exercises are very useful for strengthening the pelvic floor and bladder muscles. Patients suffering from urinary incontinence should perform Kegel exercises with the imagery of interrupting the flow of urine, contracting and releasing the pubococcygeus muscle for a few seconds. The alternation of contraction and relaxation, repeated several times, strengthens both the urinary sphincter and the pelvic floor muscles, reducing uncontrolled urinary losses.
Kegel gymnastics is also indicated as a remedy for pelvic organ prolapse. In women who have had a natural (vaginal) birth, it is possible to observe a considerable loss of tone of the vaginal muscles, or their excessive relaxation: in similar circumstances, Kegel gymnastics guarantees, in most cases, the total recovery of tone. pelvic muscle.
Kegel exercises and pregnancy
Kegel exercises are particularly effective for pregnant women, in order to "train" the pelvic floor to the imminent physiological stress it will be subjected to during the last stages of vaginal birth.
Women who regularly practice Kegel exercises report giving birth more easily: in fact, this simple gymnastics of the pubococcygeus muscle helps to develop the ability to control the muscles during labor and delivery. Furthermore, it appears that Kegel gymnastics during pregnancy is a preventative practice for hemorrhoids.
Kegel exercises and sexual pleasure
The effect of Kegel gymnastics in the sexual sphere is extraordinary: both men and women can obtain an excellent ability to control orgasm and a greater awareness of the functionality of their genital system.
The advantages of Kegel exercises in the sexual field are:
- Control of ejaculation (Kegel exercises are included in the list of remedies for premature ejaculation): the dominance of the pubococcygeus muscle in the male allows to manage the ejaculatory impulses, postponing orgasm.
- Maintaining an erection: Kegel exercises are an effective remedy for erectile dysfunction when practiced regularly. This is confirmed by a study reported in a prestigious scientific journal (Journal of the British Association of Urological Surgeons): exercises aimed at strengthening the pelvic muscles help restore erectile function in men who struggle to achieve / maintain an erection.
- Increased female sensitivity and pleasure during intercourse
- Easier achievement of orgasm (Kegel gymnastics is effective for anorgasmia, especially female): strengthening the pelvic muscles can promote multiple orgasms
- Amplification of partner's pleasure during sexual intercourse
In conclusion, the training of the pubococcygeus muscle is very useful for strengthening the pelvic floor: by exercising this muscle daily, even several times a day, it is possible to obtain concrete results within a few weeks. Some patients, however, observe the first improvements in the sexual sphere only after 3-4 months, even by practicing Kegel exercises regularly.
Kegel exercises: the devices
Kegel exercises can be done with the help of special devices designed specifically to train specific muscles. It is possible to buy the devices for Kegel exercises also online and there are different types.
Of course, the material is of great importance, since it comes into contact with one of the most delicate areas of the body. One of the materials used is hypoallergenic medical silicone. Devices made of ceramic and made of other materials are also available. Typically, Kegel exercise devices also have specific programs for pelvic floor rehabilitation.
There are also devices for Kegel exercises that have balls of different weights, to be used progressively as the rehabilitation progresses. Not only that, there are also electronic devices, in which the pelvic floor is stimulated directly by the device that is controlled via a remote control.
To learn more and get inspiration, you can also consult one of the many books, often accompanied by DVDs, on the pelvic floor and its rehabilitation.
Acvioo silicone balls
The Acvioo set for Kegel exercises consists of three different elements, all made of silicone. This material is ideal because of its softness, but also because it is smooth and non-porous and therefore very easy to clean. Two of these elements can be used without the need for a remote control, while the third, which is equipped with vibration and has a massaging effect, is equipped with 10 different training modes. A daily workout of about 30 minutes a day is recommended.
LadySystem with 5 cones
LadySystem is an accessory used to tone the pelvic floor muscles. Instead of using the classic spheres or balls, LadySystem uses 5 cones of different weight, from 5 gr to 55 gr. The shape is designed so that these cones are placed quietly inside the vagina, stimulating the affected muscles. The seller's advice is to use LadySystem 2 times a day for 15 minutes. Constant use should improve pelvic floor muscle tone. It is accompanied by a leaflet that clearly explains its use.