Friday, April 12, 2019

Kegel or Reverse Kegel for Interstitial Cystitis Patients?

Kegel exercises are designed to tighten the pelvic floor muscles. It is frequently used to treat
 bladder incontinence. However, usually IC patients have a tight pelvic floor muscle and Kegel can actually cause more harm than good. Kegel’s can cause further muscle tension and muscle spasms. But, there are few patients who benefit from Kegel only if they do it under a trained supervisor. Especially patients whose only symptoms are frequency and urgency do benefit from Kegel.  

Ideally, patients of Interstitial Cystitis benefit more from Reverse Kegel and many physiotherapists recommend this to them. 
Reverse Kegels are the opposite of standard Kegels. Reverse Kegels focus on releasing and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles. Traditional Kegels focus on contracting and releasing the pelvic region. Therefore Reverse Kegel can help relieve pelvic pain and tension as well as increase flexibility. Both types together can help balance the pelvic floor. Reverse Kegels, in particular, may help make sex more enjoyable for women with dyspareunia (pain during sexual intercourse). 

People often clench their muscles tightly during tension. People normally notice this in their neck and shoulders but if noticed carefully then the pelvic floor muscle also gets tightened. Some people refer to this pain as “A Headache in the Pelvis.” This is a significant concern for people with underlying issues such as constipation, interstitial cystitis, and dyspareunia. Reverse Kegel helps in relaxing the muscle and therefore it is extremely beneficial for IC patients whose muscles are usually tight. David Wise in his book of the same name A Headache in the Pelvis: A New Understanding and Treatment for Prostatitis and Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndromes explained this beautifully.


  1. I had no idea reverse kegels were even a thing, but it does make sense after reading your post

  2. Having experienced dyspareunia, I'm interested to try reverse kegels. It makes a lot of sense. I wonder also if it would be helpful for women who experience vaginismus?