Some people are surprised to learn that men too can perform Kegel or pelvic floor exercises, and that they’re not just for women.
Done correctly and regularly, pelvic floor exercises will strengthen the muscle that plays a significant role in controlling faecal and urine continence, including nocturia link to article when published. As a side benefit, according to this article a strong pelvic floor can also improve sexual function.
How does the pelvic floor muscle become weak?
Getting older is the usual reason, and like all muscles, lose strength if they’re not regularly exercised.
Disease and injury can also have an impact, such as diabetes or prostate surgery. In these cases, it’s essential that you consult with your doctor before embarking on any exercises.
Locating the muscle
Before you begin, you need to find the correct muscles to activate. The easiest way to do this is by tightening the same muscles you clench while trying not to break wind, but without squeezing your buttocks.
Another method is to focus on the muscles you use when you stop your urine mid-flow. Although it’s not recommended you do this regularly as it can be detrimental to your bladder, it is a very effective means of locating the right muscles.
Like most exercises, there are two aims; increase strength and increase endurance - in this case, the ability to hold on for longer.
Once you’ve located the muscles, you need to conduct sequences of clenching and releasing, focusing on intensity and repetitions.
Getting started Clench and hold your pelvic floor muscles for a second or two. Relax for 10 seconds and then repeat, building up to 10 repetitions. Try not to hold your breath, squeeze your buttocks or tighten your thighs and abdominal muscles at the same time – doing any of these will shift the load to other muscles, reducing effectiveness. When you start, you may find lying down easier (with less downward pressure) and work up to doing them sitting and then standing up.
Step it up Once you’re comfortable with the above, you might also try fast, hard contractions to squeeze your pelvic floor muscles as hard as you can and then let go straight away. Repeat up to 10 times.
Getting started Use the same technique as for the strength exercise, but this time instead of repeating short clenches, extend the ‘hold’ to 10 seconds, building up to 10 repetitions. Relax for 20 seconds between each repetition.
Step it up When you’ve mastered these, and it’s become easy, you can take it up a notch by adding abdominal resistance. While laying on your back, lift your feet off the ground to activate your core muscles and repeat the exercises above.
Aim for three sessions of 10 sets every day.
The great thing about pelvic floor exercises is you can do them, unnoticed, pretty much anywhere – sitting in the car or at a desk (even in a meeting!) while standing or lying down.
The problem people tend to have is not willingness but remembering! To overcome this, try and build them into your daily routine. For example, you could do a session in the car or bus on your way to and from work, and one while you have your lunch. If you’re just starting, a session before you get out of bed in the morning, one in the middle of the day and another when your back in bed, before you go to sleep might work for you.
Think about your day and make a conscious effort to integrate the exercises, so they get done. It really is the key to sticking to them and being able to enjoy the results.
If you’re struggling to locate the right muscles, aren’t sure if you’re doing the exercises correctly or haven’t experienced any improvement over several weeks, see your doctor. They’ll either help you directly or refer you to an incontinence physiotherapist who’ll be able to tailor a program specifically for your needs.
When will I see results and when can I stop exercising?
Depending on the condition of your pelvic floor when you begin and how persistent you are with your routine and intensity, you should notice an improvement within a few weeks to a couple of months. If not, see your doctor.
Muscles need to be continually used to maintain condition, so if you like the benefits of a strong pelvic floor muscle, keep exercising!
In the meantime
While you’re getting your pelvic floor back into shape, you might appreciate the security and comfort of a purpose-made product to manage any unexpected leaks.
TENA products are specifically designed to handle the thinner, faster flow of a weak bladder, locking urine away quickly to keep you dry and prevent odours from developing. The Men’s range includes anatomically shaped Shields that are just 3mm thin and tuck into the front of your briefs, through to Pants that discreetly absorb large quantities.
Try them for yourself by taking advantage of our Product Finder Tool, and Free Samples, to find the product that’s just right for you.
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.