How to Kegel Video Series Episode 2
If you can’t feel your Kegels you’re not alone. One of the most common problems women face when learning how to kegel is feeling their Kegels and using the correct technique.
Learn how to Kegel with Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist guidance. Michelle Kenway is the author of Inside Out – the essential women’s guide to pelvic support with Dr Judith Goh Urogynaecologist.
Kegel Video duration: 5 mins
What Causes Difficulty Feeling Kegel Exercises?
There are many reasons why women may have difficulty feeling their Kegel exercises including:
- Weak pelvic floor muscles
- Overactive (too tight) pelvic floor muscles
- Previous injury and damage to the pelvic floor nerves and muscles (pregnancy /childbirth/ pelvic floor surgery)
- Wasting or thinning of the pelvic floor muscles with increasing age
- Lack of previous Kegel Exercise
- Lack of correct instruction about correct technique
- Our pelvic floor muscles are hidden from our own view
- We don’t often learn to consciously contract our pelvic floor muscles in every day life without reason to do so.
Typical Mistakes Learning How to Kegel
There are a number of mistakes that are frequently made when learning how to kegel. Instead of using the correct technique of lifting and squeezing in and around the three pelvic openings, common mistakes include:
- Squeezing the buttocks and inside thighs
- Drawing in abdominal muscles
- Breath holding
- Straining and pushing the pelvic floor downwards.
How Pelvic Floor Physiotherapists Check Kegel Exercise Technique
Pelvic Floor Physiotherapists may use a range of different techniques to check for correct exercise technique. These techniques can include:
- Watching the movement of the three pelvic openings during pelvic floor exercise
- Internal self examination to feel pelvic floor muscles moving (this is the most commonly performed method)
- Ultrasound to view the pelvic floor muscles moving
- EMG (electromyographic) measurement of muscle activity.
Techniques to Help Feel Your Kegels
There are some techniques most women can try at home to help them find their pelvic floor muscles and check correct kegel exercise activation technique. These techniques include:
- Stopping or slowing the flow of urine using an inwards lift and squeeze of the pelvic floor muscles (this technique is best used only as a test, no more than once a week and only if you don’t have problems emptying your bladder)
- Contracting the muscles in and around the anus as if trying to avoid passing gas (wind)
- Sitting on a rolled hand towel and feeling the movement of the pelvic floor muscles lifting and lowering when activated
- Sitting on an exercise ball and leaning slightly forwards to feel an inward squeezing movement around the pelvic openings with Kegel exercise
- Touch the perineum (the skin between the anus and vagina) with a clean finger and notice your finger lift slightly inwards as you activate your pelvic floor. This technique can help you to feel whether your pelvic floor is bulging outwards with your effort.
- Feeling a couple of centimetres (half inch) inside the vagina to touch the back wall (closest to the rectum) lift and move slightly forwards with correct activation.
Techniques to Help Pelvic Floor Relaxation
Knowing how to kegel exercise involves knowing how to contract and then relax the pelvic floor muscles. Some women find it difficult to relax or feel their pelvic floor muscles relaxing having once contracted.
For some women relaxing the pelvic floor muscles feels like a lowering down and letting go sensation in and around the pelvic openings. If you can’t feel your pelvic floor muscles relaxing they may have already relaxed or alternatively they may still be contracted.
You may be able to encourage your pelvic floor muscles to relax between exercises by:
- Taking a couple of deep breaths
- Gently bulging your lower abdomen forwards.
For comprehensive details on pelvic floor relaxation please refer to this pelvic floor muscle tension article.
- Episode 1: What is a Kegel?
- Episode 2: How to Feel Your Kegels
- Episode 3: How to Kegel with Correct Technique for Strength
- Episode 4: Beginner’s Kegel Workout
- Episode 5: Advanced Kegel Workout.
How to Kegel Exercises for Women video series is presented by Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist Michelle Kenway. Michelle is the author and presenter of the Inside Out pelvic floor safe exercise program for women.
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