Written by Michelle Dela Rosa, PT.
Bump et al (1991) assessed whether or not verbal instruction was enough to perform a proper pelvic floor muscle contraction, or Kegel. The study measured urethral pressure in 47 women at rest and during a pelvic muscle contraction following standardized verbal instruction. Although almost half the women performed with “an ideal effort” for urethral closure, 25% performed with maneuvers that could lead to incontinence. The authors concluded that simple verbal or written instruction is not the best approach for pelvic floor muscle training.
We cannot be certain that verbal or written instructions alone are enough to facilitate a proper pelvic muscle contraction, even in a young, healthy person. Physical therapists with pelvic floor training can help people who are not using the muscles properly, which could lead to significant consequences.
Bump RC, Hurt WG, Fantl JA, Wyman, JF. Assessment of Kegel pelvic muscle exercise performance after brief verbal instruction. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1991 Aug:165(2):322-7.
Scott OM, Osmotherly PG, Chiarelli PE. Assessment of pelvic floor muscle contraction ability in healthy males following brief verbal instruction. Australian and New Zealand Continence Journal. 2013 Autumn:19(1):12-7.