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Answer: The vagina is like any other muscle-you need to keep it toned. Kegels are the best way to do this, according to Sandra Adamson Fryhofer, M.D, president of the American College of Physicians. However, many women commonly make two mistakes: They isolate the wrong muscles (unlike your biceps, you can hardly flex them in a mirror), and they fail to work them consistently enough to get results. Here's the right way to strengthen your private parts: Pretend to stop your urinary stream (the muscles you tighten to stop midflow are the ones you need to work); squeeze for 10 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds. Build up to three or four sets of 10 reps each day-it may take six to eight weeks to notice results.
If you're still having leakage, ask your doctor if you need vaginal "exercisers" (typically a series of small, egg-shaped devices of varying weights that you insert like a tampon and squeeze) to add resistance or medication to help control bladder spasms that can cause leakage. In extreme cases, surgery may be an option.
Originally published in Fitness magazine.