Kegel exercises, or pelvic floor exercises, are not just for having better orgasms. They can actually help prevent important health issues that you should start taking care of now. Pelvic floor exercises help strengthen your pelvic floor and vaginal muscles. But a strong pelvic floor may not only heightening your sensitivity during sexual intercourse, no, it also prevents urinary incontinence and vaginal prolapse.
Probably you’re thinking: incontinence, prolapse? That doesn’t affect me now, so thanks, but no thanks. Well, we strongly advise you to hear us out right now, you can thank us later. And we don’t want to be the ones who have to say: Told you so. Please, don’t make us do that.
5 Reasons Why You Should Start Kegel Exercises Now
#1: Prevent Incontinence
Urinary incontinence, unfortunately, is more likely to happen to women than men. In fact, it affects up to 25% to 45% of women, and the figures increase with age, mostly starting after childbirth (more on that later).
The most common and distressing symptoms are leaking small amounts of urine when coughing, sneezing or laughing. The main cause being, yep – you guessed it, weak pelvic floor muscles.
Not being able to have a spontaneous laugh, or dreading a sneeze is not very pleasant and up front embarrassing and distressing if you leak some urine at the same time.
#2 Easier Childbirth and post-partum
Giving birth stretches the pelvic floor muscles, which are in control of holding urine. When weakened, the natural consequence is that they fail to do their job correctly.
Incontinence after childbirth isn’t uncommon. In fact, up to 50% of women experience incontinence after giving birth, affecting women who have given birth vaginally more often than women who had c-sections.
“Even a seemingly uneventful pregnancy and delivery can change urinary control for up to 50 percent of women,” says Roger Goldberg, M.D., director of urogynecology research at the University of Chicago NorthShore University HealthSystem and author of “Ever Since I Had My Baby” (Random House).
Prevention is key
Even during pregnancy, Kegel exercises are useful as they may help you have an easier birth and a faster postpartum recovery (we’re just guessing here, but probably Beyoncé did a lot of Kegels…)
Prevention is key: it is very important to prepare our bodies for pregnancy and labour. This entails not only a healthy lifestyle, but working out the part of our body that is going to bear the weight of all the changes our bodies will go through: the pelvic floor” –Gema Garcia Gálvez
#3 Kegel Exercises Can Reduce Lower Back Pain
Mostly we relate back pain to stress, bad posture and sometimes period cramps. But as the gynaecologist and pelvic floor expert Gema Garcia Gálvez explains in her blog “Lower back pain is often directly related to a weak pelvic floor because the bone of the pelvic floor stabilizes the pelvis and lower spine.”
If you start kegeling now, your chances of suffering later are reduced. You and your lower back will thank you later, trust Gema, she’s an expert.
#4 Emotional well-being
Guess what, this reason is also related to incontinence (sorry to be a pain and keep getting back to that incontinence topic, but it’s such a big deal nobody talks about.)
Here’s the link between urinary incontinence and emotion well-being.
Suffering from urinary incontinence can affect your self-esteem, your mood and even your quality of life. Most people will feel really distressed when they stop being able to control their bladders. Constantly feeling insecurity and shame ist not very different to the situations experienced by people with periods that lack resources to manage their menstruation. The stress related to the fear of humiliation, of staining clothes or smelling can be so severe, it can stop people with periods from seeking help.
This is particularly traumatic for those who lose control of their bladder, rather suddenly, for instance, young women that start suffering from incontinence after giving birth.
"Since I had my baby five years ago, I “leak” sometimes when I sneeze or laugh very hard. I am only 36 and it makes me feel insecure, specially at work."
Some are even too embarrassed to speak to their doctors about possible treatment. One of which would be training the pelvic floor muscles.
#5 Sexual Sensibility
We really don’t want to focus on sex (there are enough articles on that already), but – it’s an aspect that should be mentioned nevertheless (plus, sex is sex and who doesn’t enjoy a little chitchat about it). So, did you know that a weak pelvic floor muscle can also reduce the sensation in the vagina, which can affect the sensations while having sexual intercourse?
Yeah, that’s what I thought. Shocking, right?
The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll benefit.
All these bullet points combined (or even just one of them) should make it pretty clear how important strong pelvic floor muscles are. Start strengthening them as soon as possible, especially when these pelvic floor exercises are quite easy to do.
Even if it seems that prolapse, incontinence or pregnancy are topics still in the far future and not on your mind at all, you should start investing in your health now. Like Gema Garcia Gálvez said: prevention is key.
So, while all of us work to destigmatize urinary incontinence, start having open talks about problems or issues we might experience with our vaginas, fight the fear to ask for help and advice, you will now spend a few minutes every day working your pelvic muscles out, starting now.