Kegel Exercises for Men
Kegels for Men?
Lifting weights can help you feel stronger and more confident. Kegel exercises are similar, in that they help you strengthen muscles—only, they’re muscles that you can’t see.
You’ve probably heard about Kegel exercises for women, but for men? Some research suggests that Kegels may help restore bladder control after prostate surgery, improve erectile dysfunction, delay premature ejaculation, and perhaps even boost libido.
What Are Kegel Exercises?
California gynecologist Dr. Arnold Kegel created Kegel exercises in the late 1940s to help women control incontinence following childbirth. Later research discovered that the exercises could also be helpful in preventing prolapse and alleviating pelvic pain during intercourse.
The exercises target the muscles of the “pelvic floor,” which are medically termed the pubococcygeus (PC muscles). Both men and women have these muscles, which provide support to pelvic organs such as the urethra, bladder, and bowel.
PC Muscles Weaken with Age
In young people, PC muscles are typically taut and strong, helping to hold pelvic organs in place and assisting in bladder control and sexual function. However, they can become weakened and stretched as you age, losing efficiency.
Just as you can strengthen your arm muscles or leg muscles through exercise, you can strengthen your PC muscles. Because these muscles aren’t exercised enough during your normal, everyday life, you have to make a focused effort.
Do Kegels Work?
In 2006, researchers from New Zealand found that pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) helped women with stress urinary incontinence—a condition in which coughing and laughing produces urine leakage.
Another study examined Kegels in women with pelvic organ prolapse—a common condition in which pelvic muscles like the bladder can drop out of position due to weakened PC muscles. Again, scientists found that PFMT may reduce the severity of prolapse. But what about for men?
Do Kegels Work for Men?
Several studies have also indicated Kegels can be helpful to men. For example, in 2012, researchers found that a postoperative program including Kegel exercises improved men’s ability to recover bladder control after prostate surgery.
An earlier study, published in 2005, examined men who had suffered from erectile dysfunction for over six months. Those who practiced pelvic floor muscle exercises had much better outcomes than those who didn’t. After six months, 40 percent of them had regained normal erectile function.
Do Kegels Improve Sexual Satisfaction?
Some studies have indicated stronger PC muscles improve orgasm intensity in women, but whether men might enjoy such benefits is still unclear. In 2006, researchers reported that men who suffered from chronic pelvic pain syndrome experienced significant improvement in pelvic pain, urinary symptoms, erectile dysfunction, and libido after performing PFMT exercises.
How Do Men Exercise PC Muscles?
Both men and women perform PFMT exercises in basically the same way. The most important step is finding these muscles. While you can watch your arm muscle flex when you lift something up, it’s not so clear-cut with PC muscles.
To find them, simply stop urinating mid-stream. The muscles it takes to hold the urine back are your PC muscles. These are also the muscles that help keep you from passing gas when you’re in mixed company. Another tip to be sure you’ve located the right muscles: your testicles will rise when you’re contracting them.
The Easiest Kegel Exercise for Men
Once you’ve found your PC muscles, the next step is to practice flexing them, much like you might practice abdominal exercises to tone your torso. Simply imagine you’re stopping the urine stream, hold for 5 to 20 seconds, then release. This is the simplest exercise, and one you can repeat 10 to 20 times, three to four times a day.
Variations on the Basics
Try some variations on the basic exercise. For example, squeeze the muscles further back, as if you were holding a bowel movement. Hold for 5 to 20 seconds or so, release, and repeat. You can also contract and release the muscles quickly, several times in succession, or very slowly.
Be sure not to use other muscles like your abs, buttocks, or thighs, and don’t hold your breath. Keep the rest of your body still and relaxed, and breathe normally.
They Cost You Nothing to Try
The nice thing about Kegel exercises is that they’re easy, you can do them anywhere, and they cost you nothing to try. So what do you have to lose? You might gain restored urinary control, improved erectile dysfunction, delayed ejaculation, and perhaps even a boost in your sexual confidence.