If you hear the word “kegel” and you give a bit of a side eye, we hear you. But before you completely disregard these exercises with a bad rap, know that these might be a great way to control an overactive bladder.
If you struggle with incontinence or bladder control and feel like you can’t keep it all in, Kegels are an easy way to get some relief. Here is everything you need to know about Kegels as a man.
What Causes Urinary Incontinence?
Several underlying causes, including stress and age, can cause urinary incontinence. However, weak pelvic floor muscles are one of the most common, which is why doing kegel exercises in the first place is so helpful.
Your pelvic floor is a set of muscles and connective tissue that make up your core. This includes your abdominal muscles and back muscles, as well as your diaphragm. These muscles stretch from the pubic bone in the front to the coccyx in the back, helping you to control your bladder and sphincter.
But over time, pelvic floor muscles can weaken from injury or trauma, and especially from surgery or childbirth. They can become stressed during pregnancy or from overuse like repeated lifting or chronic coughing. They might even grow weaker from hormone changes during menopause or conditions like diabetes.
You might also have an increased risk of urine leakage and weak pelvic muscles if you have prostate cancer, erectile dysfunction, or have just had prostate surgery recently.
When you have weak pelvic floor muscles, you are at an increased risk of the different types of incontinence, which include:
Stress incontinence: This occurs when you put pressure on the bladder from sudden movements, like coughing, laughing, sneezing, or lifting a heavy object. It has nothing to do with mental stress.
Urge incontinence: This refers to the frequent urge to pee and then being unable to hold it in once the feeling arises.
Functional incontinence: This occurs when a mental or physical impairment prevents an individual from being able to make it to the bathroom on time once the urge to release has arisen.
- Overflow incontinence: Constant or frequent leakage because the bladder cannot completely empty.
There is also fecal incontinence, which occurs when you struggle to hold your bowel movements, as well as anal incontinence, in which it’s difficult to prevent yourself from passing gas.
What Are Kegels?
Kegels are pelvic floor exercises that strengthen the muscles and ligaments that support your bladder, sphincter, and more. They’re not going to really give you any physical characteristics, like a six-pack or a bigger booty, but they can help you gain more control of your bladder.
Kegels can also help with pelvic organ prolapse, which is more common in women. However, men might experience rectal prolapse, which occurs when part of the rectum (large intestine) bulges into the anus.
To perform Kegels, you’ll want to lift, hold, and then relax your pelvic floor muscles (PC muscles) – like how you’ve exercised most other muscles in your body. Ideally, you want to do this at least twice a day.
If you need to find your pelvic muscles, you can squeeze the muscles around your two openings to feel where the muscles lie. First, squeeze the urethra as if you were stopping the flow of urine midstream. Next, squeeze your anus as if you were stopping yourself from letting out flatulence. When you do this, you’re doing a Kegel.
With Kegels, you want to squeeze these muscles for about three seconds before releasing them. Do this 10 times in a row to count as one set. You should try to do this at least one more time later in the day.
The next time you try to do Kegels, try to hold for four seconds, five seconds, and so on. You can also increase the number of times you perform these each day.
Here’s the thing — Kegels aren’t for everybody. If you’re having trouble feeling exactly where you should be, there are some other options. Always consult your healthcare provider before beginning any pelvic floor muscle exercise.
If you feel like you’re unable to master the kegel, there are a few tips and tricks you can try out. First and foremost, note that you don’t need to be sitting to do Kegels. You can stand or lie down — so see if one of those feels more comfortable for you to start out.
Additionally, be sure not to hold your breath while doing Kegels. You might do this when you’re lifting weights, but you actually want to breathe out when doing this movement.
Finally, as you’re starting, don’t overwork yourself. This can put you at risk of pulling a muscle and causing pain. Instead, just do as much as you can by stopping your urine stream while urinating – you’ll work up to a stronger pelvic floor in a matter of weeks.
Alternatives to Kegels
There are two other techniques that you can try to help you build up your pelvic floor muscles if Kegels just aren’t doing the trick.
Biofeedback involves muscle retraining to help patients learn to strengthen and relax their pelvic floor muscles. It is done in a specialty facility or office with a registered nurse.
You’ll be seated in a chair before two sensors are attached: one on the abdomen and one in the anal canal. These sensors measure the electrical activity of the muscles that control bowel and bladder functions, so as you tighten or relax your muscles, these changes are seen on a computer.
Essentially, when you perform a kegel, the sensors can show whether you’re using the right muscles. This can let your nurse give you a detailed treatment plan that considers the feedback machine's results, as well as behavioral and lifestyle factors outside of the office.
If biofeedback fails, a professional might recommend electrical stimulation. This involves touching the pelvic muscles with a small, painless electrical current. This forces the muscles to contract, giving you the sensation of what a kegel should feel like.
With this therapy, you can get a real sense of what muscles should be used during a kegel to help you strengthen this area in the long term.
Importance of Kegels for Men
Kegels have long been touted as a type of exercise only for women. But trust us when we say that men can and should benefit from this simple activity. Not only can it help improve incontinence, but it can also manage pain in the prostate and swelling that might co-occur with prostatitis.
But perhaps most importantly, it can increase sexual pleasure because it gives you greater control over ejaculation and the sensation of your orgasms. This means you have a better ability to prevent premature ejaculation.
MDP for Leaks As You Gain Pelvic Strength
It can take a couple of weeks for Kegels's benefits to kick in. So what do you do during all that time when you can’t stop dripping and dribbling?
MDP is specifically designed to help fight light male incontinence, letting you have relief until you can do it yourself. MDP is a sleeve that slides right over the top of your package, and with its adjustable two-strap design, you can tighten the product or loosen it however you please.
That means it fits pretty much any sized package out there. Plus, since it goes on your penis rather than your underwear, you can wear whatever type of underwear suits your fancy: from boxers to briefs and everything in between.
It’s soft, comfortable, discreet, and can hold up to two ounces of drips. That’s about a large shot glass full of urine leaks. And if it ever gets too soaked and needs a bit of a change, replacements fit right in your pocket and can be swapped out with just a quick trip to the bathroom.
The best way to see the difference is to feel it for yourself. Try out MDP today and get back to the activities you love without worrying about incontinence.
Keeping Up With the Kegels
Incontinence affects men just as much as women, and while you can get surgeries or take medications, why go through all that effort when you can just do some Kegels? Kegels might get a bad rap, but they are an easy and effective way to improve your pelvic floor muscles and strengthen the areas surrounding your bladder.
Kegels just require you to squeeze your pelvic floor muscles for about three seconds at a time, for 10 reps, twice a day. Over time, just be sure to extend the length of time you perform each move or perform them more often each day.
Until then, use MDP to catch the drips and dribbles that might sneak out until you can get a perfectly strong core.