Kegel exercises are actually exercises of the levator muscles in the pelvis.
Kegel exercises were devised by Dr. Kegel as a tool to facilitate increased strength of the pelvic floor in post-partum women preventing or lessening stress incontinence and prolapse of the vaginal walls. Many gynecologists and urologists recommend Kegel exercises prior to recommending surgery for urinary incontinence.
Kegel exercises are actually exercises of the levator muscles in the pelvis. These are the muscles that support the pelvis and fuse around the urethra and anus to create sphincters that aid in continence. Contraction of the levator muscles around the anus will lead to contraction of the levator muscles around the urethra and throughout the pelvis. The levator muscles actually contract involuntarily based on position and pressures exerted on the pelvis and only are consciously activtated usually only when one stops the urine or fecal stream. Conscious contraction of the muscles requires a large amount of coordination and concentration especially in a patient that has undergone recent pelvic trauma such as childbirth or pelvic surgery.
The difficulty in the ability to isolate and contract the muscles may account for the relatively low success rate for Kegel exercises as a singular therapy for incontinence. Monitored Kegel exercises (biofeedback) can increase chances of success in treatment of bladder dysfunction