Consumer Health: Gentlemen, are you doing your Kegels?
June is Men's Health Month, which makes this a good time to learn more about the benefits of Kegels for men.
Kegel exercises, also known as pelvic floor muscle training, can prevent or control urinary incontinence and other pelvic floor problems. For women, Kegel exercises may be suggested for some incontinence problems, including during pregnancy and after childbirth.
But Kegels aren't just for women.
For men, Kegel exercises can strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which support the bladder and bowel, and affect sexual function. These simple exercises can help men improve bladder control, and they may be a boost in the bedroom, as well.
Before you start performing Kegel exercises, though, it's important to locate the correct muscles and understand the proper technique.
Find the right muscles. To identify your pelvic floor muscles, stop urination in midstream or tighten the muscles that keep you from passing gas. These maneuvers use your pelvic floor muscles. Once you've identified your pelvic floor muscles, you can do the exercises in any position, although you might find it easiest to do them lying down at first.
Perfect your technique. Tighten your pelvic floor muscles, hold the contraction for three seconds and then relax for three seconds. Try it a few times in a row. When your muscles get stronger, try doing Kegel exercises while sitting, standing or walking.
Maintain your focus. For best results, focus on tightening only your pelvic floor muscles. Be careful not to flex the muscles in your abdomen, thighs or buttocks. Avoid holding your breath. Instead, breathe freely during the exercises.
Repeat three times per day. Aim for at least three sets of 10 repetitions per day.
If you perform Kegel exercises regularly, you can expect results such as less frequent urine leakage within a few weeks to a few months. For continued benefits, make Kegel exercises a permanent part of your daily routine.
Connect with other men talking about Kegel exercises in the Men's Health support group on Mayo Clinic Connect, an online patient community moderated by Mayo Clinic.