- Learn to contract your pelvic floor muscles. Squeeze your muscles as if you’re trying to stop the flow of urine. It’s best to practice these exercises when relaxed, focused, and not voiding.
- Practice. Try to tighten your pelvic floor muscles for eight to 10 seconds, then completely relax them. Breathe naturally, and don’t tighten other muscles. Work up to 10 times per session, three times a day.
- Put it to use. If you have stress incontinence, contract the pelvic floor muscles when you feel a sneeze or a cough coming on.
It might take a few months before you see results. If you don’t see results, or have difficulty contracting the pelvic floor muscles, your doctor can refer you to a specialist who can help you learn to contract those muscles better to get more out of the Kegel exercises.
This article first appeared in the May 2020 issue of UC Berkeley Health After 50.