Kegel exercises have long been associated with women for pregnancy and post-childbirth to tone up the pelvic floor and to prevent or ease incontinence symptoms. But kegels are also beneficial for men. They can help men ease bladder leakage, as well as improve sexual function. Today we are going to discuss the benefits of kegel exercise for men.
What are Kegel Exercises and What Muscles Do They Affect?
Kegel exercises are basically the contracting of the muscles in the pelvic floor. Your pelvic floor is comprised of a tightly woven web of muscles located in the base of the pelvis between the pubic bone and tailbone, it has three functions:
1: To support the pelvic organs including the rectum, bladder and intestines
2: They are involved in sexual function
3: To help control bladder and bowel function to prevent or ease symptoms of bladder leakage
Just like other muscles in the body, if the pelvic floor muscles get weak, they can no longer perform their job properly. Over time, these muscles can naturally stretch and become weaker. With proper exercise they can remain strong to ensure good bladder health and function.
How Can I Benefit from Kegel Exercises?
There are a number of issues men fac that kegel exercises can address. These include:
Urinary incontinence is a condition that affects up to 13% of men between 15 and 64 and can be caused by a number of health conditions. The most common reasons for incontinence in men is due to issues with the prostate. However, there are other conditions that can affect bladder function, too.
Male incontinence can range from a small amount of leakage to more substantial leaking when performing physical activities or placing stress on the bladder by coughing, laughing, lifting or working out. A Kegel exercise regimen can help tone the pelvic floor muscles to help prevent leaks from happening.
Like urinary incontinence, a weakening of the pelvic floor muscles can also affect the rectum and anus, causing a low of bowel control. And like urinary incontinence, Kegel exercises can help tone and strengthen this area to prevent bowel leakage.
Overactive bladder is the urgent and frequent need to empty your bladder. When you have OAB the muscles of the bladder contract involuntarily, creating an urgent need to urinate. Performing Kegel exercises can help improve your control over these muscles, which in turn improves or even eliminates the chance of bladder leakage.
Men often complain about the difficulty of starting a stream of urine. They also have concerns about weak flow and the feel to urinate right after they’ve finished urinating. This is often known as urinary retention. This can be caused by a blockage in the urinary tract or a nerve problem that is interfering with the signals between the brain and bladder.
Bladder retraining can help with this issue, while Kegel exercises can also help the nerves and muscles you use to empty the bladder, ensuring they work better.
How Do I Practice Kegel Exercises?
The first step is locating the right muscles. This can be the hardest part. The next time you’re urinating, try stopping the flow mid-stream. If you can do it, that means you’ve found the right muscles. This should only be done when trying to locate the right muscles. There are two types of Kegel exercises than your can perform to strengthen and tone your pelvic floor muscles.
Short contraction Kegel exercises work the fast, twitch muscles that work quickly to stop the flow of urine. This can also help prevent leaks. To perform a short contraction, tighten your muscles quickly and then release. Repeat this cycle.
Long contraction Kegel exercises work on the supportive strength of the pelvic floor muscles. To perform a long Kegel contraction, tighten your pelvic muscles and hold for at least 5 seconds. This may be difficult at first, so don’t worry if you can’t hold the contraction for the full 5 seconds. With practice you’ll be able to work up to this. Overtime you can work your way up to 10 seconds per contraction. Make sure you rest for at least 10 seconds between contractions. Knowing how to relax your muscles is as important as knowing how to contract them.
How Often Should I Practice Kegel Exercises?
Like conditioning any muscle, you don’t want to do too much too soon. Aim for around 5 reps of both short and long contractions, three times a day, on your first day. As you gain more confidence and strength, you can work your way up to ten reps, three times a day, of each contraction type.
It might take time to see the changes, but consistency is key. Continue practicing your Kegel exercises and you should see improvements in three to six months. If you need some help with your Kegel exercises, it is important to talk to your doctor or physical therapist. They can provide you with more personal instructions, including biofeedback therapy.
Do you have issues with urinary incontinence or urine leakage? Holistic Incontinence offers a wide range of products to help you manage your condition. From pads to pull ups, you can find the right product for your needs.