Kegels, Maybe Not the Miracle Exercise After All? | by PT Helen Lo

  • Posted June 2, 2020

We’ve heard it all before and it’s always the same message.

Leaking urine? | “Try a kegel”
Pregnant? | “Better start doing some kegels”
I feel like I have to pee all the time | “Your pelvic floor must be weak, do kegels”

But is it the right message?

The short answer to this is, NO

Think of it this way:

Two people book a physiotherapy appointment for knee pain. One is a marathon runner and the other is a new grandparent. This might seem obvious, but you can imagine that their baseline strength and endurance, structural make-up, and goals of therapy would be different. Consequently, their assessment, treatment, education, and exercise plan would also look very different.

The pelvic floor is no different. No one comes in with the same concerns, health history, and end goals. So, why would everyone receive the same treatment advice?

Pelvic floor physiotherapy focuses on the function of the pelvic floor muscles and surrounding structures of the pelvic region. The pelvic floor muscles form a bowl shape at the base of the pelvis. They help to support the organs and wrap around the openings to the bladder and bowels. These muscles can contract when you cough or sneeze to prevent leaking or they can relax to allow you to pee.

When it comes to the pelvic floor muscles, there are generally two types of dysfunction:

  1. Hypotonic pelvic floor (weak or low tone)

This can cause issues such as incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse.

  1. Hypertonic pelvic floor (tight or high tone)

This can cause issues such as urgency, frequency, constipation, and painful intercourse. In the case that your pelvic floor is already too tight, kegels may worsen your symptoms, especially if you haven’t been trained to do them correctly. The first step is actually learning how to relax your pelvic floor.

So, before you start those kegels, come in to see our physiotherapist, Helen, that specializes in pelvic health. She will provide an individualized treatment plan to address your concerns and help you get back to feeling like yourself again.

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