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How to do Kegels

August 25, 2008|Devon Schuyler

Kegel exercises involve contracting the pelvic floor up and in toward the small of the back, holding for several seconds and releasing. Carolyn Sampselle, a professor of nursing and incontinence researcher at the University of Michigan, said that a good routine for women who want to prevent incontinence is five a day, several times a week. Women who have incontinence symptoms should do 30 a day.

To test whether they're using the right muscle, women can try to interrupt the stream of urine while they're sitting on a toilet (but shouldn't get in the habit of urinating this way, because of a theoretical risk of kidney problems from urine flowing backward from the bladder). Another method is to insert a finger into the vagina during a contraction; the vagina should draw the finger in. An incontinence nurse or a physical therapist can also use biofeedback training to help women locate the correct muscle.

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