By Womaness Editors 1-Minute Read
Welcome to ASK AN EXPERT, a series where we pose your real questions to our menopause experts for the answers you need. Have a question? Post it on The After Party, our private Facebook Group.
“Talk to me about kegels now that I'm in menopause. How many should I be doing (and how often)...and honestly, am I just wasting my time?”
From Dr. Laura Meihofer, physical therapist and founder of the @clitoriscollective: “I love this question. 'Kegels' is basically another word for pelvic floor strengthening. When I see people who think they're kegeling or tightening their pelvic floor correctly, they're most often doing it incorrectly.
Here’s the proper way: Sit nice and evenly on your seat. Think about tightening your pelvic floor as if you are trying to stop the flow of urine, and then release that. What you should feel when that happens is a lifting of your pelvic floor.
There’s another way too: Tighten as if you're trying not to pass gas and then relax. We're working the same muscles, but we're just giving you a different cue to do them.
To answer the question of wasting your time, if you are just doing a "tighten and a hold, hold, hold, and a relax," you are only working half the muscles. So you are kind of wasting your time. The other type of strengthening or tightening you should do is known as quick contractions. That's where you tighten, relax, tighten, relax, tighten, relax. Tighten like you're stopping the flow of urine. Now, let it go. Tighten, let it go. Tighten, let it go. Tighten, let it go.
This is a contraction we usually experience through orgasm and when we cough, sneeze, or laugh. To truly train those pelvic floor muscles, you should be doing both types of contractions. Shoot for around 30 repetitions of each, because that's what research shows really helps you gain and maintain the benefits.
The other advice is a little plug for Womaness’s Gold Vibes vibrator. What I love about it is that you can place it inside the vaginal canal, work on squeezing around it, and then it gives you some feedback. So if you are having difficulty feeling the lift, use a vibrator in the vaginal canal to sense if you're doing it correctly. When you turn on the vibrator, it will help to facilitate muscle contraction."