Kegel exercises

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Kegel exercises

specific exercises named after Dr. Arnold H. Kegel, a gynecologist who first developed the exercises to strengthen the pelvic-vaginal muscles as a means of controlling stress incontinence in women. He later learned from patients who had been performing the exercises that strengthening of the pubococcygeus muscle, a sphincteric muscle that surrounds the vagina, also improved feminine sexual response and contributed to the attainment of orgasm. Research has since demonstrated that this muscle contains specialized nerve endings which contribute to a satisfactory sexual experience.

A third area in which the Kegel exercises are important is in pregnancy and childbirth. The exercises strengthen the pelvic floor and therefore are helpful in reducing discomfort and congestion during pregnancy and in providing support for the pelvic organs before and after birth. During delivery the mother who has developed good tone and conscious control over the pubococcygeus muscle is able to release the muscle and thereby facilitate the passage of the infant through the birth canal. After delivery the exercises maintain the strength of the muscle and greatly diminish the possibility of rectocele and cystocele, dyspareunia, and other aftereffects of delivery.

Most patients must be taught an awareness of the muscle and how to control it. This usually can be done by having the woman shut off urine flow while sitting on the commode. After a few trials the sensation of control is recognized and the patient is able to perform the exercise on her own. Usually the exercises are begun with five or ten contractions before arising in the morning and also during each voiding of urine. Gradually the number of sessions and the number of contractions are increased until ultimately a pattern of three hundred daily contractions is reached. The exercises require concentration but a small expenditure of energy. Once the muscle has been strengthened it tends to maintain its strength and state of partial contraction at all times. Sexual activity helps preserve the muscle tone.
Contraction and release of the pubococcygeus muscle (Kegel exercises) can improve muscle tone, thereby providing better support to the pelvic organs. From Nichols and Zwelling, 1997.

Keg·el ex·er·cis·es

alternate contraction and relaxation of pelvic floor and perineal muscles for treatment of urinary stress incontinence.

Kegel exercises

A series of exercises designed to help postpartum recuperation by strengthening the pelvic floor (pubococcygeus) muscles, thereby improving urethral and/or rectal sphincter function. Kegel exercises are also useful for men after prostate surgery, and for patients with faecal incontinence.

To ensure that the KEs are being done properly, a vaginal cone can be used to achieve biofeedback for positive reinforcement, as well as electrical stimulation with low-voltage electric current to stimulate the correct muscles, with the current delivered via an anal or vaginal probe.

1. Begin by emptying the bladder,
2. Tighten the pelvic floor muscles and hold for a count of 10.
3. Relax the muscle completely for a count of 10.
4. Perform 10 exercises, 3 X/day (morning, afternoon and night), performed any time and any place; after 4 to 6 weeks, improvement of continence should be obvious; temptation to speed progress by over-exercising may instead cause muscle fatigue and increased urine leakage.

Keg·el ex·er·cises

(keg'ĕl eks'ĕr-sīz-ĕz)
Alternate contraction and relaxation of perineal muscles for treatment of urinary stress incontinence.

Kegel exercises

Exercises designed to strengthen and rehabilitate the pelvic-floor muscles of those suffering stress incontinence.

Kegel exercises

A series of contractions and relaxations of the muscles in the perineal area. These exercises are thought to strengthen the pelvic floor and may help prevent urinary incontinence in women.


A.H., 20th century U.S. gynecologist.
Kegel exercises - alternate contraction and relaxation of perineal muscles for treatment of urinary stress incontinence.
References in periodicals archive ?
To perform pelvic-floor exercises sit, stand or lie with your knees slightly apart.
Pelvic-floor exercises are not just for those already experiencing the embarrassing symptoms of incontinence.