Kegel exercise, sometimes done with vaginal weights, Kegel exercise tools, or other Kegel products, strengthens the pelvic floor muscles.
You may have learned these exercises if you had children. The pelvic floor muscles are even more important as we age, to support the uterus, bladder and bowel, to discourage incontinence and encourage orgasm in our later years.
When our pelvic floor muscles weaken, our uterus, bladder, and/or bowel can descend or bulge—called a prolapse—into the vagina. Symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse include uncomfortable pressure and changes in bladder and bowel function.
Weak pelvic floor muscles mean weak orgasms too.
Luckily, strengthening your pelvic floor muscles is easy to do, and even pleasurable once you get the hang of it.
To find the right muscles, the next time you need to urinate, try to stop the flow of urine. The same muscles you use to stop that flow are the muscles you want to exercise.
Next try this: Insert one or two fingers inside your vagina and squeeze them. When you feel your vagina tighten, you have the right muscles. Relax those muscles.
To perform your Kegel exercises, start with an empty bladder. You can sit, stand, or lie down to do your exercises. Whatever is comfortable for you.
It isn’t absolutely necessary to use weights to perform Kegel exercises, but Kegel weights (balls or barbells), which are inserted in the vagina before or while performing the exercises, help quite a lot. Weights work the same way they do for any other muscle group, helping you isolate the correct muscles and giving you an object to focus upon. It’s easy to feel a vaginal weight shift as you flex your muscles.
Remember to focus on isolating the pelvic floor muscles alone. Don’t flex your abdominal muscles, thighs, or buttocks during the exercises. And remember to breathe!
If these instructions sound too complicated, never hesitate to ask your menopause care provider or gynecologist for help learning to do your Kegel exercises. They are so important for pelvic health, it’s important to learn to do them correctly.