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Should We Kegel?

From the Therapist's Desk (2)

This blog post was written by Alex Spencer a Core Physical Therapy PT specializing in Pregnancy and Postpartum Care.

For many years if anybody went to their physician reporting urinary incontinence, they would likely be told to complete Kegels multiple times a day. The more we start to know about the pelvic floor and how it functions, the more we are beginning to think this is NOT the best advice.

This is a targeted pelvic floor muscle contraction to increase strength through the pelvis. Strong pelvic floor muscles then go on to support the uterus, bladder, rectum, even the hips and lower back. Below is an image of the pelvic floor musculature from below. These are the muscles that Kegels are aiming to strengthen.


Image Source

How do you know if these muscles are weak?

Certain factors, such as pregnancy, childbirth, abdominal/pelvic surgery, aging, and straining with bowel movements can all contribute to weakness of these muscles. But excessive tension through these muscles can also cause weakness, as a tight muscle is an inefficient muscle.

What would lead to tension in this area?

Stress, trauma, anxiety, lower back and hip pain, abdominal clenching, and prolonged periods of holding bladder and/or bowels in.

There is no way to know for sure if your pelvic floor is weak or tense until a thorough evaluation is completed. Our certified pelvic health providers at Core will help you to determine how your pelvic floor is functioning, and if strengthening is a necessary part of your rehabilitation journey. Contact us today.

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