Guys: This Is Why You Should Be Doing Kegels
Most of us associate Kegel exercises exclusively with women. The reality is that, while men and women are built differently, we’re also pretty similar. Both men and women have pelvic floor muscles (PFMs), a hammock-like system of muscles, ligaments, and tissues that stretches across our pelvis keeping our organs firmly in place. In women this includes the uterus, bladder, urethra, and intestines. In men it includes the same organs (minus the uterus, of course).
When the pelvic floor muscles become weakened over time, problems like bladder leakage and dribbling after urination can emerge. Women can use a bladder biofeedback device like PeriCoach to help them do Kegels correctly and get bladder leakage under control.
What can men do? We’ll talk more about that and other benefits of Kegels exercises for men ahead. First, let’s look at some of the medical conditions that Kegel exercises can help men address.
- Urinary incontinence: Leaking a few drops (or more) when you strain, or dribbling after urination, is called urinary incontinence. When the sphincter muscles of the bladder become weakened, you can expel urine at inappropriate times, like when you cough, sneeze, workout, or get up from a seated position. Kegel exercises can help build stronger pelvic floor muscles to prevent these slip-ups. Strong PFMs can also help inhibit the involuntary muscle contractions that cause overactive bladder—the sudden or frequent need to urinate, which is often triggered by things like hearing running water or seeing a bathroom.1
- Anal incontinence: The pelvic floor muscles also control the anal sphincter. Toning and strengthening these muscles can help you prevent or manage fecal incontinence. Need we say more?
- Prostate problems: Kegel exercises help improve circulation, which is thought to have a positive effect on prostate enlargement (called benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH) symptoms, and on overall prostate health.1,2
Improved Sexual Health with Kegels
Here’s where the story gets juicy. Kegel exercises can also help men improve sexual function and control by improving pelvic floor muscle strength, which in turn can help with:
- Erectile difficulties/dysfunction: Kegels can help improve circulatory function in the pelvic region and penis; better blood flow means better penile rigidity and sustained erections.
- Ejaculation and orgasm: Weak pelvic floor muscles often translate to weaker orgasms and ejaculation. Since PFMs tend to weaken over time, most men will start to notice this as they get older. Kegel exercises can help create more force and improve contractions during orgasm. For men who have problems with premature ejaculation, Kegel exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, for better control, especially when used in concert with the Masters and Johnson squeeze technique and orgasm control techniques.
- Performance anxiety: Stronger PFMs can help men feel more confident, and improved confidence can help relieve performance anxiety over time.
Convinced yet that you should be doing Kegels? Good. Here’s how to do them.
Identify your Kegel muscles: Pretend that you are stopping and starting the flow of urine by contracting and releasing those muscles. Next, pretend that you are trying to stop the passage of gas, releasing and contracting the anal sphincter muscles—you should feel a pulling sensation when you do this. If you can stop the flow of urine and prevent the passage of gas, you’ve correctly identified your pelvic floor muscles (avoid contracting other muscles like the thighs and buttocks).
While standing, sitting, or lying down:
- Contract the pelvic floor muscles for five seconds
- Release for five seconds
- Repeat 10 times
- Do a set of 10 contractions, 3 times a day
Gradually work your way up to 10-second contractions. If you have difficulty identifying your Kegel muscles, biofeedback therapy can help.
Make Kegels a Part of Your Daily Routine
Kegel exercises for urinary incontinence aren’t just important for women. Men and women are both affected by bladder leakage and other problems caused by weak pelvic floor muscles. Stronger PFMs can help you avoid urinary and fecal incontinence, which affects a startling number of men and women around the world.3,4,5 And, as we’ve seen, strong pelvic floor muscles can help improve sexual performance and satisfaction when done regularly. Gents, do your Kegels!