What are pelvic floor muscles (Pubococcygeal Muscles)? Why do we need them?
When you think about your body, there is pelvis bone around your waist with an empty central part. The muscle group located in the area called “pelvic floor” covering this area is called “pelvic floor muscles”. These muscles which were defined by Dr. Arnold Kegel for the first time are also called “pubococcygeal muscles” and “PC muscles” in Latin.

Kegel exercises are muscle building exercises that contracts, stretches and relaxes pubococcygeus (PC) muscles on the pelvic floor. Pelvic floor muscles function as a network system in the center on pelvis bone and hold your organs and intestines.

Pelvic floor muscles or pubococcygeus muscles (PC muscles) are a group of muscles supporting your bladder and rectum and ensuring the control on urine flow and discharge. They are quite important in terms of sexual intercourse and ejaculation. They also have various functions during normal labor.

(Pelvic floor muscles in males and females) As seen in the figure; pelvic floor muscles is the muscles group surrounding and supporting genital area, bladder, rectum and anal area.

How can we feel pelvic floor muscles?
Notice the muscles you use to stop while urinating. Then continue and stop again. While contracting these muscles, don’t forget to loosen up your abdominals and glutes. You can also try while excreting. Eventually, you can easily feel the muscle group working when you focus on your pelvic area. The pelvic floor muscles you feel here are the ones you will work.

How are the Kegel exercises made?
Kegel exercises can be explained in different ways. The important part is to understand the logic of the exercises. Blood flow increases and improves in the working muscle group. For example, we work out with weights to build muscles on our arms by lifting them, or in other words, we contract and relax muscles. In time we feel that muscles group getting improved and stronger.

So, first thing you need to know is the location of pelvic floor muscles and then the fact that they also need exercises. Feeling the right muscle group, focusing and using only that those muscles rather than the way of doing kegel exercises is the most important thing.

Kegel exercises should be done when the bladder is empty.

In sitting position or lying position, contract the pelvic floor muscles as if you want to hold your urine, and then relax them and test yourself and feel the pelvic floor muscles while contracting the urine meatus and anus muscles. If you feel a contraction on abdomen and leg muscles, then it means that the wrong muscles are working. For slow Kegel exercises, lying on the floor or in bed, slowly inhaling as if smelling a flower and exhaling like blowing a candle and keeping a rhythm is very important. Slowly contracting the PC muscles for 5 seconds while inhaling and slowly relaxing for 5 seconds while exhaling are the requirements. It’s recommended to do these 10 times every time, 10 cures everyday and at least 100 times. In time, the contraction and relaxation time should be able to go up to 10 seconds.

The way of doing fast kegel exercises is the same with slow ones. The only difference is contracting and relaxing them faster in 3 seconds instead of 5 seconds in slow ones.

Kegel exercises have many different alternatives. Kegel exercises can be done by combining them with fitness, pilates, yoga, pregnancy exercises or bladder gymnastics.

As a result; whatever type you choose, the important part of kegel exercises is discovering pelvic floor muscles and contracting and relaxing the right muscle group by focusing on them.

When do we use kegel exercises and their benefits;
• Excessively active bladder (hyperactive bladder) treatment,
• Prevention and treatment of female urinary incontinence (especially stress type) symptoms,
• Minimizing undesired conditions such as possible ptosis, urinary incontinence after normal labors and preparing the woman for labor,
• Male urethritis, prostatitis diseases (especially chronic),
• In the treatment of urinary incontinence occurring after prostate cancer or BPH operations,
• Prevention on bladder, uterus and intestine etc. ptosis,
• Treatment of female sexual anorexia,
Treatment of male erection problem (impotence), Boşalma sorunlarıejaculation problems (premature ejaculation), Libido libido (sexual drive) problems (sexual anorexia)
• Treatment of sexual problems such as vaginismus (fear of having sexual intercourse), dyspareunia (painful sexual intercourse), inability to have orgasm

How long should we do kegel exercises?
Typically kegel exercises are started as a ancillary treatment supporting the main one in accordance with the symptoms. Benefits are observed in 4-5 weeks after starting the exercises. The patient is requested to keep doing the exercises at least for 6 months until the symptoms are gone. These exercises with great results are recommended especially for female individuals for a lifelong period.

In Far East, the female individuals are requested to do kegel exercises before their first sexual intercourse so that they won’t have problems during the first experience. Women can learn using their vaginal muscles with kegel exercises. They can increase the sexual pleasure by using these muscles during coitus (merging of vagina and penis).

Male individuals can have stronger erection through kegel exercises and a more intense ejaculation, they can control their ejaculation better and have a better sexual life as a result. Kegel exercises which are also used for the treatment of sexual dysfunctions is the process of discovering and strengthening pelvic floor muscles.

Kegel exercises can be easily done in a bus, car, work place, on the road, at home etc. and no one can realize that. Especially female individuals should do these exercises everyday regularly.

© 2016 - Op. Dr. Cem ÖZLÜK