For men, the most common cause of urine leakage is an enlarged prostate, or a medical procedure undertaken to treat a prostate issue. Other causes include prescription medication, loss of mobility and several lifestyle choices, which you can read more about on the page Causes of Male Urinary Incontinence. If you are experiencing any urine or bowel leakage and are yet to see a doctor, you must make an appointment. The cause could be serious – and treatable.
That said, many lifestyle issues (obesity, smoking, constipation) weaken the pelvic floor muscles, reducing bladder and bowel control. Simple exercises will improve the strength and endurance of the pelvic floor, allowing you to ‘hold on’ tighter and for longer.
What is the pelvic floor?
The pelvic floor is a hammock-like group of muscles that sit in the base of the pelvis. They attached at the pubic bone at the front and coccyx at the back. These muscles not only provide support for pelvic organs but play a vital role in bowel and bladder control. In fact, these are the muscles you squeeze to ‘hold on’ when you need to urinate, have a bowel movement or to prevent passing wind.
A weak pelvic floor and incontinence issues are commonly associated with women and childbirth, so some men are surprised to discover that they also have one. There are many other misconceptions which you can read about in the article, Male Incontinence Myths
Exercising the male pelvic floor
We’ve all heard the term ‘use it or lose it’ when it comes to strength and fitness, and the same applies to the pelvic floor. Neglected over decades, its ability to function well can be compromised. The good news is that like all muscles, no matter how weak they’ve become, with some attention and work, strength can be restored.
Even if you’re not experiencing continence issues, paying attention to your pelvic floor strength will help keep it that way.
The exercises don’t require any special clothing or equipment, and you can do them sitting, lying down or standing up. They’re ideal to do at home. In fact, once you’ve mastered the basics, you can do them while on the computer, sitting in the garden or even watching TV.
How do I exercise my pelvic floor muscle?
The first step is to identify the right muscles. To do this, imagine a situation where you don’t want to break wind. Clench the muscles around your anus and retract and draw in the base of the penis. Pay close attention to the sensation and location of these muscles.
If you’re having difficulty locating the muscles doing this, next time you’re urinating, try and stop the flow after it’s started. This is also your pelvic floor at work. Although this technique helps find the muscles, regularly stopping your urine flow mid-stream isn’t a good bladder habit, so shouldn’t be repeated on an on-going basis.
Once you’ve identified the correct muscles, exercising is simply a series of clenches, holds and releases. Rapid clenches will improve strength and holds will improve endurance. Start slowly and build up each day. If the muscle feels fatigued, stop and allow it to rest – you can always do more later in the day. For more specific instruction, have a look at this article titled Pelvic Floor Exercises for Men , which sets out the basics of both strengthening and endurance routines.
This article, Pelvic Floor Exercises – Dos and Don’ts contains a video depicting the male pelvic floor in 3D, as well as useful tips for performing the exercises correctly. With persistence, you should begin to notice an improvement in just a few weeks.
Additional exercises at home
If you’re looking to improve your overall strength while at home, consider yoga or Pilates. Both of these have a focus on core strength, which includes the lower back, abdominal and pelvic floor muscles.
There are plenty of free online beginner classes that you might like to try. Have a look at a few to find one you enjoy. Again, remember to keep within your ability and start off slowly.
While Pilates was developed using apparatus to create resistance, there are many instructional videos on YouTube designed to be done at home without equipment. They vary in length and difficulty, so start with a short beginner one and see if it works for you. You can read more about this particular type of exercise in the article, Pilates and Strengthening the Pelvic Floor
Originating in India, yoga has a long, philosophical history that has evolved into many distinct types. From fast-paced and strenuous, to gentle and relaxing and everything in between, there really is a yoga style to suit everybody! Again, if you’re at home, check out some of the many instructional videos on YouTube. You can do the ‘class’ in your lounge room or for a change, take your laptop, tablet or phone and a towel or mat into the garden for an outdoor workout. You can read more about the beginnings and styles of yoga in this article, Yoga Exercises for a Prolapsed Bladder, which, although written for that condition, is relevant for strengthening a weak pelvic floor.
See your doctor
There is shocking research from the United States that claims 60% of men don’t see a doctor. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, if you are having continence issues, you must see a health care professional. The cause may or may not be serious, but a diagnosis is essential for determining appropriate treatment.
Further, as explored in this article, Incontinence can take a Psychological Toll on Men so don’t ignore it.
If you are experiencing small leaks, a TENA Shield or TENA Guard may be the solution. Both are shaped like a classic cricketer’s box, are soft and breathable and tuck into the front of firm fitting underwear for discreet protection. You can find out more in this article, TENA Shield and TENA Guard – What’s the Difference?
For moderate to heavy protection, have a looks at the range of TENA Pants for Men. These look and feel like regular underwear, are undetectable under clothing and offer excellent security in any situation.
Whatever you choose, be assured that all TENA products are specifically designed to handle the thin, fast flow of a weak bladder. They rapidly absorb and lock away fluid, keeping you dry, odour free and confident.
Finding your perfect product
If you are at home, why not use it as an opportunity to take advantage of our Product Finder and Free Samples? You can try them with various clothes, including your exercise gear, checking out every angle in the mirror, so you’re convinced of their discreetness, comfort and security.
Asaleo Care makes no warranties or representations regarding the completeness or accuracy of the information. This information should be used only as a guide and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional, medical or other health professional advice.