To Kegel or Not To Kegel

Have you heard of Kegel Exercises? Maybe you have been told by your gynecologist to do your Kegel Exercises, or maybe you have read about these muscles in a magazine, and maybe you are one of the few who are bold enough to talk about these muscles with your really good friends, over a glass of wine at a girls night out! 

If you have heard of these muscles, that is wonderful because everyone should have strong, healthy, functional kegel muscles. After all, these kegel muscles (otherwise known as your pelvic floor muscles), have a lot of important functions for our bodies. They help us maintain our continence (so that we don’t leak when we have a strong urge or cough, laugh or sneeze) and they are an important part of sexual appreciation and orgasm. Your pelvic floor muscles are part of your “inner core” muscular group and help with lumbopelvic stability, and they help hold up and support your pelvic organs (bladder, uterus and rectum). All very important functions. 

But, did you know that not everyone should be exercising their pelvic floor muscles (PFM)? It is actually quite common for women to have pelvic floor muscles that are actually too tight. Think of this like having too much tension in the upper trapezius muscles. Without even realizing there is tension there, this tension in your upper traps can cause shoulder pain, neck pain and even headaches. In a similar manner, excess tension in your PFM can cause a myriad of symptoms and you may not even realize these muscles are too tight. A happy healthy bladder should feel like it needs to empty every 3- 4 hours during the day and not at all at night; bladder urgency and frequency can be signs of PFM that are too tight. When the PFM over function it can also cause (or exacerbate) constipation, difficult to attain or painful orgasms and different types of pelvic pain including painful intercourse. When these muscles are not healthy and functional it can impact and even worsen sacroiliac dysfunction, hip pain, groin pain, and even lower back pain.

Now that you have read this article…the question to kegel or not to kegel is posed to you. If you have any one of these symptoms, you would most likely benefit from learning how to relax and improve your PFM range of motion before embarking on a kegel exercise program and you would definitely benefit from an evaluation by a good pelvic floor physical therapist. At ITR Physical Therapy all of our physical therapists specialize in treating all types of pelvic floor muscular issues. Come in and let us help you determine whether you should or should not kegel!

Call 301-770-7060 to schedule your appointment.
Office Location:4905 Del Ray Ave, Suite 302, Bethesda, MD1305 Vincent Place, McLean, VA

Jennifer Chu
Jennifer Chu, MS, PT, WCS is one of the country’s first Board Certified Women’s Health Specialists. She has been a physical therapist since 1997 when she started her career working with musculoskeletal injuries in an outpatient orthopedic clinic. It was here that Jennifer began her specialty in women’s health. In 2001 she opened ITR Physical Therapy in order to create an environment where patients would receive the individualized, quality and manual care that she believes each patient deserves. Jennifer has spoken nationally at the American Physical Therapy Association’s Annual Conference and Exposition and has sat on the Board of Directors as the Director of Communication for the APTA’s Section on Women’s Health. She has participated in clinical research regarding myofascial soft tissue release techniques for painful bladder syndrome and painful C section scars. She is committed to teaching and empowering women and men with pelvic floor dysfunctions how to help themselves. When not working, Jennifer treasures being the mother of two amazing girls, practicing yoga, meditation and spending time with her friends and family.