Dr. Dugan describes Kegel exercises.
Kegel exercises are the exercises that a lot of women are given after they have a baby; it’s probably the most common time. Dr. Kegel was a gynecologist and obstetrician back in the 1940s, and he suggested that women are taught to relearn how to use their pelvic floor. So after this wonderful birth where this large head and shoulders comes through a small area and stretches your muscles, they tend to be forgetful about how to work again.
So we tell patients to Kegel or to try to lift and squeeze the muscles around your urethra where you urinate is one way to sort of remind women. It’s the same muscles that you use when you’re going to the bathroom, and you try to stop your stream. Now we don’t tell them to exercise by stopping their stream because that sends a message to the bladder that’s very confusing, but it’s one way to get them to sort of realize what muscles we’re talking about.
The other real simple way is to have a doctor have their finger in the woman’s vagina when they do the squeeze and the lift to be sure that they are actually doing the right thing. Because many women will use their buttock muscles, their belly muscles, and not really relearn how to use those pelvic floor muscles which in the long run we think is a problem for incontinence and other problems in the pelvis.
About Dr. Dugan, M.D.:
Dr. Sheila A. Dugan, M.D., is Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Rush Medical College, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois. She is a faculty member of the Department of Neurosurgery and the Department of Preventive Medicine. She is co-medical director of the Rush Program for Abdominal and Pelvic Health.
Dr. Dugan is multi board-certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation, electrodiagnostic medicine and pain medicine. She is highly skilled in neurological and sports-related rehabilitation. Prior to medical school, she received her physical therapy degree from Northwestern University in 1986. She's currently pursuing development of a program focused on women's musculoskeletal care, including both their medical and rehabilitation needs.