Kegel exercises for men

Kegel exercises for men (also called pelvic floor exercises) are an attempt to help strengthen the muscles that support the bladder. These muscles also play a role in a man’s sexual function. Some doctors recommend starting these exercises before surgery for prostate cancer because they may be easier to learn than after surgery, particularly if incontinence becomes a problem.

The first step is finding the right muscles

There are several different approaches with Kegel exercises for men, but the easiest may be for your loved one to sit on the toilet and try to stop and start the flow of urine several times while he’s urinating. If he can do this, he’ll know he’s contracting the right muscles.

Another way to find the right muscles is for the man to contract his buttocks and rectum, as if he were trying to prevent the passage of gas (farting). Another sign that a man is doing the contraction correctly is if he feels the base of his penis moving up slightly towards his stomach.

Sometimes Kegel exercises for men can be challenging

For men who have difficulty, biofeedback training and electric stimulation of the pelvic floor muscles are two methods that may help. With biofeedback, electrodes may be placed on the abdomen and along the anal area. A sensor or probe may also be inserted into the anus to monitor contraction of the pelvic floor muscles. The therapist views a monitor to help determine if the correct muscles are being contracted. With electrical stimulation, the therapist administers a painless low-voltage current that creates the sensation of what a correct Kegel exercise should feel like.

The “squeeze and hold” exercise

With this Kegel exercise, the man contracts and lifts the muscles for up to 5 seconds, and then releases the contraction. He should breathe regularly while doing this exercise, and rest for about 10 seconds between each contraction. It’s important that he only uses the pelvic floor muscles during this exercise, and does not tense up his legs, buttocks or belly. Once a man can comfortably hold the contraction for 5 seconds, he should try to lengthen the time to 10 seconds.

A man should generally do about 10 contractions for each session. He can do these Kegel exercises while lying in bed, sitting in a chair, standing, or even walking. He can also do them while urinating on the toilet (to stop and start the flow of urine), but the National Association for Continence cautions that doing Kegel exercises too often while urinating often leads to infections. The Continence Foundation suggests doing this exercise while urinating once a week to check his progress.

The short contraction

After the “squeeze and lift” exercise (unless your loved one’s doctor tells him to do this exercise first), your man should do up to 10 strong contractions, but very quickly. So he squeezes and lifts, lets go right away, then repeats.

Establish a routine

It’s important to do these exercises every day for as long as your man’s doctor tells him to. He should also keep in mind that the quality of the exercise is more important than the quantity. In fact, doing this exercise too frequently may actually lead to more urine leakage.

One way for your loved one to remember to do these exercises every day is to pick certain activities (such as driving to work and driving home from work) that will be his “Kegel time.” Other suggestions include while brushing his teeth in the morning and at night, and before waking up and before going to bed.

Every man is different, and some men may need to do Kegel exercises more often each day to get desired results. But generally, a man does repetitions for both exercises for two to three sessions a day.

It may take up to 6 weeks before a man notices any change—and several months to get desired results.

Updated 7/13

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Kegel exercises for men references:
National Association for Continence. Pelvic floor muscles. http://nafc.org/uploads///pdf/PME_forWeb.pdf. Accessed December 17, 2008.

The Continence Foundation. Pelvic floor exercises for men. http://www.continence-foundation.org.uk/publications/pdfs/Men%20PFE%2014.PDF. Accessed December 17, 2008.

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