Pelvic Floor Exercises for Men
Over one third of the population of older adults deal with urinary incontinence (UI). Urinary incontinence leads to a world of other symptoms as well that can be challenging to overcome.
Despite an increase in knowledge and treatment for urinary incontinence, it is easy to feel like you don’t have control over your own life. However, there are ways to regain that control.
In this article, you will learn the role of pelvic floor muscles, how Kegel exercises strengthen these muscles, and how these pelvic floor exercises can help you regain control of your bladder.
What are Kegel Exercises?
The term kegel describes a form of exercise that targets and strengthens your pelvic floor muscles. While women’s kegel exercises have become a popular way to strengthen the female muscles and control urinary incontinence, many aren’t aware of the benefits of kegel exercises for men.
Kegel exercises have various benefits including strengthening your pelvic floor muscles, improving sexual function, and helping with urinary incontinence.
About Your Pelvic Floor
The pelvic floor describes all the muscles that run from your pubic bone to your tailbone. The male pelvic floor and female pelvic floor are different.
While the female pelvic floor supports her womb, bladder, and bowels, the male pelvic floor supports his bladder and bowel only. The male pelvic floor contains the bladder and urethra, and ends near the anus.
Your pelvic floor muscles are what release or stop urine flow. They’re also the muscles responsible for relaxing the anus and bowel muscles.
Isolating Your Pelvic Floor Muscles
The first step to performing kegel exercises is understanding where the pelvic floor muscles are on your body.
To isolate your pelvic floor muscles, find a comfortable place to sit or lie down on your back and relax. Now imagine that you are emptying your bladder and suddenly have to stop urine flow. At this point in the exercise, your pelvic floor muscles will contract just as if you are holding back urine.
When learning which muscles are part of your pelvic floor, here are some good guidelines.
Pelvic floor muscles are not on your legs. Squeezing your thighs or legs is unassociated with the pelvic floor muscles. Your stomach muscles are also unassociated with your pelvic floor muscles.
While contracting the pelvic muscles, you should be able to breathe easily. If you stop breathing, hold your breath, or are gasping for air, chances are you’re contracting the wrong muscles.
The genitals, urethra, tailbone, and anus are part of the pelvic floor.
If you are having trouble isolating your muscles, you can try these methods.
If you have trouble locating and isolating your pelvic floor muscles, this exercise is best to start with as it will help you visualize the steps and see the movement. To perform this exercise, stand in front of a mirror with no clothes on. Next, tighten your pelvic floor muscles. To do this, imagine you are holding in urine or trying to stop the flow of urine. As you tighten your muscles, pay attention to your body. If the base of your scrotum is drawn upward, you are doing it right.
- Stopping Urine Flow
The second method for performing kegel exercises is focused on stopping hypothetical or actual urine flow. To practice the hypothetical way, stand, sit, or lie down and imagine that you are letting go of urine. Then imagine that you have to suddenly stop. Tighten your pelvic floor muscles to stop the flow.
To perform this kegel exercise while urinating, try to stop your urine flow. If you cannot stop the flow, you are squeezing the wrong muscles.
Benefits of Kegel for Your Pelvic Floor
There are numerous benefits to performing kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor. Here are some of the most important things pelvic floor exercises will do for you.
Help with Urinary Incontinence
Urinary Incontinence (UI) is a challenge for more than a third of those 65 and over. If you live with urinary incontinence or if you’re concerned with preventing incontinence in the future, kegel exercises can help you.
Urinary incontinence in men can be caused by a variety of factors. Sometimes surgeries for prostate cancer or an overactive bladder can be the culprit for weakened pelvic floor muscles. If you have nerve damage due to any physical conditions or procedures, or know of any blockages, these could also be the cause of weakened pelvic floor muscles.
Inflammation of the prostate gland from prostatitis may also be the cause of urinary incontinence. In addition, some men’s prostates grow throughout their lives, so this can lead to less control over your bladder as you age. This condition is known as benign prostate hyperplasia (BHP).
Kegel exercises have numerous benefits associated with the increased control of urinary incontinence.
To help control UI, practice kegel exercises for five minutes, two to three times a day. You can perform these exercises pretty much anywhere once you get the hang of things, and it’s one of the easiest exercises to implement into your daily life.
Urinary incontinence needs to be diagnosed by a doctor. If you have noticed less control over your bladder and weakening of your pelvic floor muscles, schedule an appointment with your general care physician. You will likely need to inform your doctor of any surgeries you’ve recently had, especially any prostate surgeries. Your doctor may run various tests to determine UI such as blood tests, urine tests, and tests to understand how well you can empty your bladder.
Aside from incontinence, kegel exercises can also benefit sexual health in men. Performing kegel exercises for five minutes, two to three times daily can increase pleasure during intercourse, increase libido, and create more intense sensations during intercourse.
This improvement to sexual sensations is due to the increase of blood flow kegel exercises cultivate. Kegel exercises are also a way to treat erectile dysfunction and improve its symptoms.
Kegel Exercises for You
In order to effectively perform pelvic floor exercises, it’s important to understand the various types of exercises and what they target. If you aren’t sure what kind is best for you, ask your physician. Here is a step-by-step guide for performing pelvic floor exercises.
Tighten your pelvic floor and hold this position for five-ten seconds. Repeat this exercise ten times during one kegel exercise and repeat the exercises two to three times a day.
Kegel exercises can be performed anywhere, anytime. To integrate pelvic floor exercises into your life, try performing them while you’re doing dishes, brushing your teeth, or watching TV. You can be seated, standing, or lying down for these exercises, so where you do them doesn’t matter.
Things You Should Know
As with any exercise or new routine, it’s important to allow your body to go slow and get used to the movement. If your pelvic floor muscles are severely weakened, it could take multiple sessions to begin to notice an increase in strength and bladder control.
When To Seek Professional Help
If you notice bladder symptoms other than incontinence, speak with your physician.
Some signs and symptoms to be aware of are:
- If you notice an increase in bowel movements or bladder urges
- If you have difficulty releasing
- Pain when urinating or during bowel movements
- Pain in your bladder, anus, or pelvic floor during kegel exercises or intercourse
If you integrate pelvic floor exercises into your routine, but don’t notice a change for an extended period of time, consider contacting a health professional. Not every person, pelvic muscle, and bladder are the same.
By meeting with a pelvic floor physiotherapist you can receive a more personalized kegel exercise plan that is tailored to you and your lifestyle.
Living with Incontinence
As you age gracefully, you deserve products that age with you and fit seamlessly into your lifestyle. For more information on dealing with incontinence as an adult, learn about which incontinence products are best for you.
Dealing with urinary incontinence is a challenge for many older adults. Not only can it make people feel out of control of their bodies and lives, it can also lead to decreased nutrition, interrupted sleep rhythms, and decreased physical activity.
So, if you find urinary incontinence is taking a hold, take a deep breath, squeeze, and strengthen those muscles, because you have more control than you think.
For more resources, tips, and information to guide you through urinary incontinence, click here to explore Because Market’s blog.