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 the surgical removal of the prostate (radical prostatectomy) and conditions such as diabetes and overactive bladder.
You might benefit from doing Kegel exercises if you:
- Have urinary or fecal incontinence
- Dribble after urination — usually after you've left the bathroom
Some studies suggest that Kegel exercises for men might also benefit some men who have erectile dysfunction. However, further research is needed.
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 identify your pelvic floor muscles, stop urination in midstream or tighten the muscles that keep you from passing gas. These are your pelvic floor muscles. If you contract your pelvic floor muscles while looking 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 on your back with your knees bent and apart. Tighten your pelvic floor muscles, hold the contraction for three seconds, and 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 3 times a day. Aim for at least three sets of 10 repetitions a day.
When to do your Kegels
Make Kegel exercises part of your daily routine. For example:
- Fit in a set of Kegel exercises every time you do a routine task, such as brushing your teeth.
- Do another set after you urinate or have a bowel movement, to get rid of the last few drops of urine or to return any feces that haven't been voided to the rectum.
- 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.
- Tighten your pelvic floor muscles rhythmically 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 strengthen the correct muscles.
In some cases, biofeedback training might help. In a biofeedback session, your doctor or other health care provider inserts a small probe into your rectum. As you relax and contract your pelvic floor muscles, a monitor will measure and display your pelvic floor activity.
When to expect results
If you do your Kegel exercises regularly, you can expect results — such as less frequent urine leakage — within three to six weeks. For continued benefits, make Kegel exercises a permanent part of your daily routine.