I’m slowly growing to hate the term “Kegels”.
Don’t get me wrong, the concept of doing Kegels isn’t entirely a bad one. But there is so much confusion out there about Kegels that I’m starting to think it’s better not to use that word at all.
Many women have heard about Kegels – either from reading a book or from a well-meaning health professional who mentioned that they should be “practicing their Kegels”. A handout may even have been provided with instructions about why, how, and number to aim for, etc. My sense is that many new moms and moms-to-be walk around believing that they must Kegel in order to strengthen their pelvic floor.
But is it really a one-size fits all deal?
I have worked with a lot of people and let me tell you, nothing is ever one size fits all! Each woman is a unique individual who has a different body with different needs. Telling everyone to Kegel is like telling everyone to do hamstring curls, regardless of the state of the hamstrings or the need of the person. The hamstrings may be truly weak, they may be torn, they may lack neural input telling them to turn on, they may be responding to the opposing muscle group (the quads) or they may already be over-developed. The same is true for any other muscle group, including the muscles of the pelvic floor.
So how do we know whether to Kegel or not? Simple. Get an assessment. A pelvic floor physiotherapist is the BEST health professional to determine the state of the myofascia, tone, position, strength, length, and timing of the pelvic floor. No one else out there is doing this type of assessment. And that’s a problem because much suffering can be prevented by simply getting checked. Instead of making blanket statements that every woman should kegel, we need to recognize that there are times when Kegels are a big no-no. There are times when Kegels will make things worse.
If not Kegels, then what? In my next post, I will flush this out some more. So stay tuned and keep being the beautiful mama that you are.