240323 Kegel exercises part 2 of 2

240323 Kegel exercises part 2 of 2

Kegel exercises, also called pelvic floor muscle training, are simple exercises you can do to treat bladder problems and improve bowel control. The exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that support the bladderrectum, and uterus. These muscles—which stretch like a hammock from the front to the back of your pelvis—can help you avoid releasing urinestool, or gas at the wrong times.

Let your health care professional help you

Many people have trouble finding the right muscles. Your doctor, nurse, or pelvic floor therapist can let you know if you are doing the exercises correctly. They can examine you while you do the exercises to verify you are squeezing the right muscles. They can also recommend exercise aids, such as biofeedbackelectrical stimulation, or special weights.

Practice the exercise

Learn the method

Here’s an easy way to start.

  • Find and squeeze your pelvic floor muscles.
  • Try to hold the squeeze for 3 seconds.
  • Release the muscles and fully relax your pelvic floor.

Then repeat! Try to work up to 10 to 15 repetitions each time you exercise.Woman lies on a mat while practicing Kegel exercises.Practice Kegel exercises while lying down, sitting, or standing.

Follow your health care professional’s advice

Kegel exercises can be done in different ways—in terms of how many seconds to hold the squeeze and how many repetitions to do per session. Ask your health care professional for an exercise plan that meets your unique needs.

Don’t squeeze other muscles at the same time

Be careful not to tighten your stomach, thighs, or other muscles. Squeezing the wrong muscles can put more pressure on your bladder, making it easier to leak urine. Try to squeeze only your pelvic floor muscles.

Add to your daily routine

Do your pelvic exercises at least three times a day

Every day, try to do the exercises in three positions: lying down, sitting, and standing. Using all three positions makes the muscles strongest. Keep a daily journal or exercise log to record each time you do the exercises.

Here’s a sample daily exercise schedule.

  • Do a set of exercises in the morning, while making breakfast.
  • Fit in another set in the afternoon, while sitting at your desk or driving.
  • End with a third set in the evening, while lying in bed.

Be patient

Don’t give up. It’s just 5 minutes, three times a day. Like any exercise routine, it can take a little time to build up muscle strength and conditioning. You may not feel your bladder control improve until after 3 to 6 weeks.

Don’t overdo it

Keep doing the exercises, but don’t increase how many you do. Overdoing the exercises can lead to straining when you urinate or move your bowels.


[1] Mazur-Bialy AI, Kołomańska-Bogucka D, Opławski M, Tim S. Physiotherapy for prevention and treatment of fecal incontinence in women: systematic review of methods. Journal of Clinical Medicine. 2020;9(10). doi: 10.3390/jcm9103255

[2] Dumoulin C, Cacciari LP, Hay-Smith EJC. Pelvic floor muscle training versus no treatment, or inactive control treatments, for urinary incontinence in women. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2018;10(10):Cd005654. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD005654.pub4

[3] Huang YC, Chang KV. Kegel exercises. In: StatPearls [Internet]. StatPearls Publishing. Updated May 9, 2021. Accessed September 8, 2021. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK555898 NIH external link

[4] Myers C, Smith M. Pelvic floor muscle training improves erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation: a systematic review. Physiotherapy. 2019;105(2):235–243. doi: 10.1016/j.physio.2019.01.002

Last Review

This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. The NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by the NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.

The NIDDK would like to thank:
Alison Huang, M.D., M.A.S., University of California, San Francisco

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