Kegels May Not Be the Answer to Your Problem
The following is written by Dr. Sinéad Dufour PhD. We are fortunate to have the opportunity to collaborate with Dr. Sinead Dufour, who is a Researcher (PhD) of all things Pelvic Health. She is also a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist in Burlington and Oakville, a Professor and lecturer at McMaster University, and on the teaching faculty of Bia Formation and Reframe Rehab and Pelvic Health Solutions. Dr. Sinead Dufour is also the sister of the founder of Compass Rose Wellness, and is a huge supporter in developing more resources and access for women’s healthcare. It was with her encouragement and assistance finding a top notch Pelvic Health Physiotherapy team, that Compass Rose Wellness Centre was opened in 2020.  

Kegels have become synonymous with pelvic health. It’s not much of a stretch to say that Kegel exercises are the extent of what many women know about their pelvic health—do your Kegels, and everything will be just fine. And yet, most women don’t even know what a “Kegel” is, how this is different from pelvic floor muscle training, and that Kegels are often not what is needed.  

Overworked Muscles

Kegel exercises are a type of pelvic floor muscle exercise designed to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor. These muscles support the pelvic organs – the bladder, small intestine, uterus, and rectum, have a role in sexual function and work with other core muscles to keep us aligned.  These muscles do a lot!  The idea is that these muscles can become less fit for a variety of reasons, and therefore need to be exercised to prevent and correct problems like urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. 
Since the 1950s, women have been trying to faithfully exercise their way to a stronger pelvic floor with Kegels. For some women, it works. For others, it doesn’t. Why? Because many pelvic floor issues are not related to weakness, they are related to other aspects of muscle fitness.  In fact, in many women too much tension in the pelvic floor is the root of their issues so doing lots of Kegels will surely backfire – they get even tighter and problems worsen – a fit pelvic floor is definitely not one that is too tight!  Any way you look at it, an “unfit” pelvic floor typically results in pelvic dysfunction and should be attended to. 

What’s a Woman to Do?

t’s a cruel irony that all that unsupervised exercise that hasn’t been designed specifically for your body can ultimately cause dysfunction and even pain. If it happens, what are your options? Consulting a pelvic health professional is the best first step to take. A pro can evaluate your situation and offer care options that are specifically tailored to you to correct the root of your issues. Essentially they will guide you to bring back the fitness of your pelvic floor. 

If you are experiencing symptoms of pelvic dysfunction, including urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse or even peeing too frequently call us or book a consultation. We are here to help you take control of your pelvic health so you can live your life to the fullest. Here is to no more peeing when you sneeze, jump or cough!

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