try a kegel before you laugh
Fitness,  Incontinence

How To Kegel Leaks Away, Easy Peasy Squeeze-y

You’re out with your friends at your 25th high school reunion. Debra from English class seems even funnier than you remember and you can’t stop laughing while reminiscing about Mr. Hedrick’s hideous haircut, even though it’s been 25 years. And then suddenly, it happens.

It’s a small leak. You know nobody can see it anything. But you know it’s there, and it’s uncomfortable. Your smile dims a little and you’re suddenly thinking of going home early.

Sound familiar? If you’ve been there before, we feel you. And so do millions of other women. The good news is that Kegels can help.

How Kegels Help With Leaks

Before jumping into Kegels, it’s helpful to understand why they help with bladder leaks (also known as incontinence). It all has to do with something called your pelvic floor.

Your pelvic floor is a muscle that stretches like a hammock across your pelvis. It supports your bladder, intestines, and womb. A strong pelvic floor prevents bladder leakage by sealing off the bladder. One of the reasons — but not the only reason — why leaks happen is because of a weakened pelvic floor. This can happen over time for lots of reasons such as stress from chronic coughing, pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, and straining from constipation. Just to name a few reasons.

Kegels help with leaks by strengthening your pelvic floor.

you can do kegels anywhere

What ARE Kegels?

If you’re new to Kegels, welcome aboard! A Kegel is an exercise where you contract your pelvic floor muscles. When done consistently, they can make your pelvic floor stronger.

Ok. But How Do I Find My Pelvic Floor?

We hear from a lot of women that they don’t know if they’re “doing it right.” The first step to doing Kegel exercises properly is to find your pelvic floor muscles. Here are a few ways you can do that:

  1. When you’re sitting on the toilet, try to stop peeing midstream. If you can stop or slow down the stream successfully, it means you’ve found the right muscles.
  2. When you feel that you need to pass gas, squeeze your muscles and see if you can prevent yourself from passing gas. If you can, your pelvic floor muscles are contracting.
  3. Insert a tampon. Now try to simultaneously pull the tampon out with your hand (gently) and use your pelvic floor muscles to keep the tampon in place. If you can make it difficult to pull the tampon out, you’ve found the right muscles.
  4. Place 1-2 clean fingers inside your vagina and tighten your muscles around your fingers. If you can feel the muscles contract, you’ve found your pelvic floor muscles.

If you have trouble, your doctor may have several ways to help you find your pelvic floor muscles in his or her office.

try kegels while sitting

How To Do Kegels

You’re finally ready to try these exercises!

Types of Kegels

There are two types of Kegels. Sustained contractions are where you contract your pelvic floor and hold it for a few seconds, followed by a few seconds of rest. On the other hand, quick flicks are when you contract your pelvic floor quickly, multiple times in a row, with only a 1-2 second break in between. It’s a good idea to mix it up and do both kinds of exercises. If you can feel your pelvic floor muscle “lift” off your underwear and drop down as you relax, you’re doing it right.

Sustained Contractions

  1. Lie down and bend your knees. Take a deep breath.
  2. Relax your thigh, buttocks, and belly.
  3. Contract your pelvic floor muscles and hold it for for 5 seconds.
  4. Relax and take two deep breaths.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4, 10 times.

Try to do this 3 times per day, or, 30 repetitions total.

Feeling like a pro and ready to take your sustained contractions to the next level? Try these things:

  • Do your Kegels while sitting, standing, or walking
  • Gradually increase the length of time you hold your Kegel from 5 seconds to 10 seconds
  • Increase the number of repetitions you do during the day up to 60 repetitions total
  • Do a sustained contraction right before you cough, laugh, or sneeze to prevent a leak

Quick Flicks

  1. Lie down and bend your knees. Take a deep breath.
  2. Relax your thigh, buttocks, and belly.
  3. Contract your pelvic floor muscles quickly 5 times in a row, taking no more than 1-2 seconds per Kegel
  4. Rest for 5-10 seconds
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4, 5 times (25 total quick flicks)

Try to do this 3 times per day, or, 75 quick flicks total.

Feeling like a pro and ready to take your quick flicks contractions to the next level? Try these things:

  • Do your Kegels while sitting, standing, or walking
  • Do a set of quick flicks when you have a strong urge to urinate. Then head to the bathroom if you still feel the urge.

How Long Till You See Results?

Just like any exercise, it can take a little while to see the results of Kegels. So, be patient — and remember, doing these exercises consistently is key. You can try mixing it up by adding in other pelvic floor exercises, too.

Most women see some improvement in their bladder leaks after 6-12 weeks of doing Kegels. But you’ll need to keep doing these exercises for 4-5 months to get the most benefit.

Once you’ve reached your desired level of bladder control, it’s okay to do Kegels a bit less frequently. Try exercising your pelvic floor muscles 3 days a week instead of every day, for example.

try a kegel before you laugh

Final Words

Kegels are a relatively simple, easy way to improve bladder leaks. Here are a few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind. For even more tips on kegels, check out our article on 9 Tips To Make The Most Of Your Kegel Exercises.

Do’s

  • Do Kegels every day for the best result
  • Do remember to relax your thighs, abs, and buttocks
  • Do breathe deeply
  • Do talk to a doctor if you feel any discomfort or pain

Don’ts

  • Don’t use Kegels while peeing, other than to find your pelvic floor muscles the first time
  • Don’t overdo it. Start easy and gradually work your way up
  • Don’t do Kegels if you have hypertonic pelvic muscles. That’s where your pelvic floor muscles are too tight and Kegels can actually increase your leaks in this case. Definitely don’t want that!
  • Don’t count on Kegels to fix severe bladder leakage. It’s a myth that they’re a silver bullet even though they can help.

Happy Kegel-ing!

If you’re ready to explore another way of managing bladder leaks, sign up for a bladder leak subscription box or check out our ultimate guide to keeping a bladder diary.

Have Kegels worked for you? Tell us about it in the comments!