Many factors can weaken your pelvic floor muscles, including pregnancy, childbirth, surgery, trauma, excessive straining from constipation or chronic coughing, and being overweight.
You might benefit from doing Kegel exercises if you:
- Leak a few drops of urine while sneezing, laughing or coughing (stress incontinence)
- Have a strong, sudden urge to urinate just before losing a large amount of urine (urinary urge incontinence)
- Leak stool (fecal incontinence)
Kegel exercises can also be done during pregnancy or after childbirth to try to improve your symptoms. When using any pelvic floor device consult your doctor and do not start until you are completely recovered from any other complications of the delivery.
Doctors claim kegel exercises are less helpful for women who have severe urine leakage caused my trauma and nerve damage but a strong pelvic floor will still help give you some control to hold urine and develop habits that minimize leaks. Some also claim kegel exercises aren't helpful for women who unexpectedly leak small amounts of urine due to a full bladder (overflow incontinence) but the same principle of strength applies here as well and many women with this issue learn that good pelvic floor health allows them to void urine regularly and disrupt this overflow pattern.