How long does Kegeling take to build strength?
Strength building takes time! Most people require at least 3-6 months to reach their desired level of improvement. You should see gradual improvement during this time, but don’t give up after 2 weeks if you’re not seeing the results that you want!Don't know how to Kegel. Read my blog HERE.
Once you have achieved your goals, you can start doing more of a “maintenance” schedule of 2-3 times per week instead of daily. You can also stop doing Kegels altogether, and see if your symptoms return or not. Some people decide that they feel best on a maintenance plan, and others feel fine without it. Most importantly, strength training and staying active is the most important way to maintain results and keep your pelvic floor happy and healthy!
The truth is, we don’t really know! Each person’s pelvic floor strength is different. This is due to different genetics, birth history, and past and current exercise program. “Enough” pelvic floor strength probably varies based on what someone wants to do, and if they have any symptoms! In general, we want people to be able to confidently contract and hold their pelvic floor contraction against gravity for about 10 seconds. Then, they should be able to repeat that 5-10 times in a row without losing power.What to learn how to design your own Kegel program? Read HERE!
While this is a common myth, there’s no evidence that it’s true! No muscle in the body, including the pelvic floor, will get physically shorter as the result of exercise. Exercise does make muscles thicker, which is what we want in order to improve strength! There are some people who do experience discomfort in the pelvic floor muscles because of doing Kegels. This can indicate that the muscles are sensitive to exercise and that the person needs slightly different programming.
If you are newly postpartum and doing Kegels aggravates the area around newly healing stitches, we recommend waiting until the area is less sensitive. If you find that you have muscle soreness or uncomfortable symptoms as a result of doing pelvic floor muscle training, you may be doing a little bit too much too soon. Instead of stopping, try to reduce the level of effort and the number of repetitions that you’re doing and see if you can find a comfortable “dosage.” It’s also important to let your muscles relax between each contraction. Resting for at least 10 seconds in between each repetition is important even if it’s boring! If you’re still having trouble, please consult a pelvic PT.
Are Kegels safe to do in pregnancy?
Absolutely! Not only are they safe, they actually appear to be helpful in vaginal delivery and postpartum recovery. Doing Kegels can also reduce the risk of developing stress urinary incontinence in pregnancy, or lessen it if it’s already happening.
There’s no evidence that anyone has to do Kegels if they don’t feel helpful. The best way to keep your pelvic floor healthy is to keep bowel function normal, stay active, and regularly strength train. Some people enjoy the results of doing “extra” exercise for the pelvic floor. However, your pelvic floor will still get exercise if your whole body is as well!
Have more questions? Make an appointment with our pelvic floor physical therapist TODAY to get the guidance and support you need!We offer in-person or telehealth appointments!
Want to read more? See our Pelvic Floor Resource Page for more content!