Urinary incontinence affects many women, but it also effects millions of men too! And even though most men are more worried about bicep and chest exercises, pelvic exercises are just as important if you want to maintain better bladder control.
Pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegels, improve the pelvic floor's stability and strength, which supports the bladder and the rectum, to give you control over your bodily functions.
Here’s what you need to know about how to use pelvic exercises to your advantage and improve your ability to remain continent.
What Is the Pelvic Floor?
Your pelvic floor is home to many muscles and tissues that make up your core, such as your abdomen. These muscles support important organs, like your bowels and bladder. They also support reproductive organs.
Your pelvic muscles are important for absorbing outside pressure while protecting your spine and organs. A strong core helps protect your lower back while also preventing injury during sudden movements.
These muscles know as pelvic muscles are also necessary when it comes to holding in your urine. These muscles allow you to squeeze and relax your bladder and rectum, which allows you to move waste out of your body. You should be able to control these muscles deliberately, but sometimes, we have to work on that control by strengthening the pelvic core.
With that said, the pelvic floor muscles function differently between men and women. In men, these muscles support the prostate, bladder, urethra, bowel, and anus. They also help you get an erection to ejaculate for proper sexual function.
For women, while many of those organs are also supported, the pelvic floor is more important for supporting a child until birth.
Importance of a Strong Pelvic Floor
If your pelvic floor is weak, you put yourself at risk for developing one of the many types of incontinence, including:
Stress incontinence: Urine leakage from physical stress on the bladder, like coughing, laughing, sneezing, or lifting something heavy. It has nothing to do with mental stress.
Urge incontinence: The sudden urge to urinate followed by an inability to hold in your urine.
Functional incontinence: An inability to make it to the bathroom on time due to a mental or physical impairment.
Overflow incontinence: Frequent dribbling of urine because of a bladder that is too full or doesn’t empty completely.
Fecal incontinence: Inability to control bowel movements.
- Anal incontinence: Inability to prevent yourself from passing gas.
A weak pelvic floor might also put you at risk for pelvic organ prolapse, which occurs when unsupported organs protrude from openings in the groin. In women, it’s common for the bladder to bulge out of the vagina. But in men, you’ll likely see anal prolapse, in which part of the rectum bulges into the anus.
Having a strong pelvic floor might also mean that you have a strong core overall, which is good for maintaining good posture and functional movements for the rest of your body.
Pelvic Floor Exercises for Men
Although some people think Kegel exercises are just for women, they are not, and Kegels provide tremendous benefits for men as well. Men should do pelvic floor exercises like Kegels just as much as anyone to improve incontinence and overall health.
Before you start, consult your healthcare provider to ensure this is the right course of action for you. Once you’ve gotten the go-ahead, you first have to find and isolate your pelvic floor muscles, so you can then do the exercises correctly.
Do this by squeezing the muscles that control your urethra as if you’re trying to stop the flow of urine midstream. Next, squeeze your rectum like you’re trying to stop yourself from passing gas. If you can do this, then you are ready to start doing Kegel exercises.
Quick Flick Kegels
With Quick Flick Kegels, you’ll essentially do what you just did to locate your pelvic floor muscles, except you’ll do it very quickly, over a 10-second period. For instance, locate your pelvic muscles and squeeze for just a second. Release, then contract again. After completing ten reps, rest for another ten seconds, and then repeat that exercise two to three times.
This is a good way to learn how to activate your pelvic floor muscles quickly, which will help to hold in urine, poop, or gas, even when sneezing, coughing, or laughing.
Heel slides are a core exercise that doubles as good pelvic floor muscle training. These can target the deep abdominal muscles to give you more control.
Start by laying on the floor with knees bent and pelvis in a neutral position. From there, inhale deeply and exhale through the mouth. Then, while elevating your pelvic floor up into a bridge-like position, slide your right heel away from you as far as possible without losing your “bridge-position,” which helps maintain your connection to the deep core.
Once you fully extend your leg, inhale and bring your leg back. Repeat 10 slides on the right side before switching to the left side.
Traditional Kegels are a great exercise for men, even though they are often done by women because of the benefits to the pelvic floor. However, learning to master this exercise is a great way for men to also develop more control of the bladder.
Start by squeezing your pelvic floor for about three seconds — release, and then complete 10 repetitions. Ideally, you want to try to do this twice a day, gradually increasing the time you hold each rep as you work-up enough strength.
Doing Kegels regularly can significantly improve bladder and bowel control, giving you more control over the flow of urine and feces.
What To Do If You Can’t Feel Your Pelvic Floor
Having trouble performing Kegels? You’re not alone — many people struggle to use the correct muscles when they perform this exercise. There are a few things you can try.
For one, you can use biofeedback to learn if you’re using the right muscles in the first place. With this, you’ll go to a specialty office or clinic where a registered nurse will hook you up to a biofeedback machine. One sensor will go onto your abdomen, and the other will go into your anal canal.
These highly detailed sensors can show how much these muscles are generating muscle- output. So, when you perform a Kegel, your provider can see if you’re truly performing them correctly, and then they can guide you to continue exercising utilizing Kegels.
If this doesn’t work, they might give you medical advice to seek help from a physical therapist. Not only can they help you learn more about how to feel the muscles in your pelvic floor, but they’ll also give you some specialized exercises that might be more in line with what you need to strengthen your pelvis.
MDP for Small Bladder Leaks
It can take a few weeks for the benefits of Kegels and pelvic exercises to really show themselves. In the meantime, you can find some relief and get back to what you love most by using a product called MDP, which helps manage the effects caused by urinary leakage.
MDP (short for “Male Drip Protection”) is designed to conform to each man’s unique physique. It’s a sleeve that slides right over your penis, form-fitting to your anatomy, so you don’t need to worry about it slipping and sliding around.
Plus, since it adheres directly onto your package rather than sticking to your underpants, you can wear any type of undergarments you want: boxers, briefs, or even wear MDP without wearing any underwear at all.
Its proprietary two-strap system allows MDP to be custom-fit around any man’s shape. It’s comfortable, durable, and discreet — no one will ever know you have one on. It can hold up to two ounces of urine leakage, which is about as much as a large shot glass. But if MDP gets damp, you can easily change it by just taking a quick trip to the bathroom and strapping on another one.
The only real way to see all the benefits of MDP is to try it out yourself. Give MDP a try, and you won’t need to stop your day anymore just because yo have some leakage. This product keeps you moving and on the go, even if you experience a little bit of incontinence.
Your pelvic floor is a major group of muscles in the groin area that support your bladder and rectum. A weak pelvic floor can put you at a higher risk of several types of incontinence, anal prolapse, and more.
A great, easy way to strengthen your pelvis is through pelvic floor muscle exercises or Kegels. This usually just requires you to squeeze the pelvic floor muscles for a set period to gain strength and better prevent urine, fecal, or gas leaks.
But if Kegels aren’t working for you, you can try using a biofeedback machine or visiting a physical therapist to get some relief. And if that’s still not enough, MDP can give you the protection you need until you get some of your strength back.
Try out MDP today and get back to what you love most.