Kegel exercises for men: Understand the benefits

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Kegel exercises for men: Understand the benefits

Think Kegel exercises are just for women? Think again. Kegel exercises for men can strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which support the bladder and bowel and affect sexual function. With practice, Kegel exercises for men can be done discreetly just about anytime — whether you're relaxing on the couch or driving your car. Before you start doing Kegel exercises, find out how to locate the correct muscles and understand the proper technique.

Benefits of Kegel exercises for men

Many factors can weaken your pelvic floor muscles, including a radical prostatectomy and conditions such as diabetes. Kegel exercises for men can help prevent, treat or delay some of the symptoms caused by weak pelvic floor muscles, such as urine leakage. You may benefit from doing Kegel exercises if you have:

  • Urinary or fecal incontinence
  • Dribble following urination

Limited research suggests that Kegel exercises for men may also benefit some men who have erectile dysfunction.

How to do Kegel exercises for men

It takes diligence to identify your pelvic floor muscles and understand how to contract and relax them. Here are some pointers:

  • Find the right muscles. To make sure you know how to contract your pelvic floor muscles, tightly squeeze the muscles that help prevent you from passing gas or try to stop the flow of urine while you're using the toilet. If you look in the mirror, the base of your penis will move closer to your abdomen and your testicles will rise.
  • Perfect your technique. Once you've identified your pelvic floor muscles, empty your bladder and lie down. Contract your pelvic floor muscles, hold the contraction for three seconds, then relax for three seconds. Try it a few times in a row but don't overdo it. When your muscles get stronger, try doing Kegel exercises while sitting, standing or walking.
  • Maintain your focus. For best results, focus on tightening only your pelvic floor muscles. Be careful not to flex the muscles in your abdomen, thighs or buttocks. Avoid holding your breath. Instead, breathe freely during the exercises.
  • Repeat three times a day. Aim for at least three sets of 10 repetitions a day. You might make a practice of fitting in a set every time you do a routine task, such as brushing your teeth.

Kegel exercises can also be done after you finish voiding, to get rid of the last few drops of urine or to return any feces that haven't been voided up to the rectum. You might also contract your pelvic floor muscles just before and during any activity that puts pressure on your abdomen, such as sneezing, coughing, laughing or heavy lifting. In addition, you might tighten your pelvic floor muscles during sexual activity to maintain an erection or delay ejaculation.

When you're having trouble

If you're having trouble doing Kegel exercises, don't be embarrassed to ask for help. Your doctor or other health care provider can give you important feedback so that you learn to isolate and exercise the correct muscles.

In some cases, biofeedback training may help. In a biofeedback session, your doctor or other health care provider inserts a small monitoring probe into your rectum. When you contract your pelvic floor muscles, you'll see a measurement on a monitor that lets you know whether you've successfully contracted the right muscles. You'll also be able to see how long you hold the contraction.

When to expect results

If you do your Kegel exercises regularly, you can expect to see results — such as less frequent urine leakage — within three to six weeks. Other results, such as improved erectile function, may take three months. For continued benefits, make Kegel exercises a permanent part of your daily routine.

Last Updated: 2010-11-19
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