Kegal Exercises for all Women:
by Kerin Asher-Galloway, R.N., C.N.M.

I have just had a baby and my doctor encouraged me to do the *Kegel vaginal exercises. Why should I keep continuing them?

The vagina and urethra contain many muscles that help these structures work well. Often times after a woman has had a baby these muscles can become slightly weak. Over the course of time and further deliveries these muscles can become even weaker. The result of the weak muscles could cause what is called a cystocele or a urethrocele, where the vaginal walls fall into the vaginal canal and can protrude through the vaginal opening. This can lead to problems in the future with losing one's urine (urine incontinence).

Dr. Arnold Kegal devised a form of exercise that can strengthen these vaginal muscles and it has been suggested that all women including those who have never given birth can benefit from doing it. In addition, these exercises have been shown to increase sexual pleasure.

Kegal exercises are very easy to do. They can be performed by simply contracting the vaginal muscles. Hold this for a count of ten and then release slowly for a count of ten. Repeat this several times.

Although Kegel exercises are simple, most women forget to do them. It is important to find a trigger to remind you to do them. These can include every time the phone rings, sitting at a red light in the car or even while urinating (in a stop and start fashion).

Start now! No one will know that you are doing it. Besides it can provide a life long benefit to your vaginal health.

(*Kegel has been spelled as Kegel and Kegal)

Kerin Asher, R.N., C.N.M. is a certified nurse practitioner and midwife. She works with Dr. Feder in Los Angeles. Kerin specializes in women's health and primary care.