Myth 1: The best way to do Kegels is to stop the flow of urine
Fact: Interrupting your stream is just a means of feedback to reinforce that you are engaging the proper muscles. The bathroom should not be your Kegel gymnasium!
Myth 2: Do Kegels as often as possible
Fact: Kegels should be done in accordance with a structured plan of progressively more challenging exercises that require rest periods to optimize muscle growth.
Myth 3: Do Kegels anywhere
Fact: Kegel exercises demand attention, mindfulness and muscle isolation. It is best to train in a venue free of distraction. Ultimately, they can be integrated into daily activities.
Myth 4: The best way to do Kegels is to squeeze as hard as possible
Fact: A quality contraction cycles through the full range of motion from maximal relaxation to maximal contraction. “Stretch and lengthen” are of equal importance to “tone and tighten.” The goal is for strong, toned, supple and flexible muscles.
Myth 5: Keep the Kegel muscles tightly contracted all the time
Fact: The pelvic muscles have a resting tone and when not actively engaging them, they should be left to their natural state. “Tight” is not the same as “strong.” In pelvic tension myalgia there is spasticity and pain due to excessive tension.
Myth 6: Core exercises are sufficient to ensure Kegel fitness
Fact: The Kegel muscles are the floor of the “core” and get a workout whenever the core muscles are exercised, e.g., Pilates and yoga. However, for maximal benefit, focus needs to be placed specifically on the Kegel muscles.
Myth 7: Kegel exercises don’t help
Fact: Kegel exercises have been medically proven to help pelvic relaxation, sexual dysfunction and urinary/bowel incontinence. Additionally, they will improve core strength and stability, posture and spinal alignment.
Myth 8: Kegels are only helpful after a problem arises
Fact: The best option is to be proactive and not reactive. Kegels pursued before pregnancy will aid in preventing pelvic issues that may arise from pregnancy, labor and delivery. Strengthening your pelvic muscles when you are young can help avoid pelvic conditions that may develop later.
Myth 9: Stop doing Kegels once your muscles strengthen.
Fact: The “use it or lose it” principle applies here. Neglecting the pelvic muscles can result in “disuse atrophy,” so “maintenance” Kegels should be pursued after completing a course of pelvic training.
Myth 10: Learning to isolate and exercise the Kegel muscles is easy
Fact: Many who think they are doing Kegels properly are actually contracting other muscles or are bearing down and straining instead of drawing up and in.
Myth 11: Kegels are bad for your sex life
Fact: Kegels improve sexual function since they contribute to genital blood flow, lubrication, vaginal tone, clitoral erection and orgasm. Kegels will enhance your sex life as well as his.
Myth 12: Kegels are for women only
Fact: Men have essentially the same pelvic muscles and can reap similar benefits regarding pelvic, sexual, urinary, and bowel health.
Andrew Siegel, M.D. is a well-known authority on incontinence and female pelvic medicine. In addition to private practice, Dr. Siegel serves as Assistant Clinical Professor of Surgery at the Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School. He is a Castle Connolly 'Top Doctor New York Metro area' and 'Top Doctor New Jersey', and author of four books: The Kegel Fix, Male Pelvic Fitness, Promiscuous Eating, and Finding Your Own Fountain of Youth.
For more information visit his website.