Kegel Exercises: Treating Male Urinary Incontinence
Male urinary incontinence is both preventable and manageable. Kegel exercises can help you take control of your leaky bladder.
If you practice Kegel exercises (also called pelvic floor exercises) for five minutes, two or three times daily, you will likely see significant improvement in your ability to control urinary leakage. Another bonus: Kegel exercises can also help you have more intense orgasms, and improve erections.
They may be family -- but having an incontinence accident while staying in another person's home can be awkward and embarrassing. How do you explain the wet sheets? How can you dispose of used incontinence pads? Is incontinence keeping you from visiting friends and family?
"One of my patients was afraid she would wet the bed," says May Wakamatsu, MD, chief of Vincent Obstetrics and Gynecology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. "She stopped sleeping at her daughter's house because of it...
Kegels are exercises that help you zero in on and strengthen muscles below the bladder that help control urination.
In men, urinary incontinence can be caused by a weak urinary sphincter that may result from surgery for prostate cancer, an overactive bladder, or a bladder that doesn't contract. Kegel exercises can help you improve -- or in some cases completely regain -- bladder control.
How Can Men Do Kegel Exercises?
Kegels are easy to do, once you know which muscles to target. One of the easiest ways to locate your muscles is during urination. Here’s how:
Halfway through urination, try to stop or slow down the flow of urine.
Don’t tense the muscles in your buttocks, legs, or abdomen, and don’t hold your breath.
When you can slow or stop the flow of urine, you’ve successfully located these muscles.
Some men find these muscles by imagining that they are trying to stop the passage of gas. Squeezing these muscles gives a pulling sensation; these are the right muscles for pelvic exercises. It's important not to contract other muscles.
Some men need biofeedback to help them target the right muscles.
To do Kegel exercises for men:
Contract these muscles for a slow count of five.
Release the muscles to a slow count of five.
Repeat 10 times.
Do a set of 10 Kegels daily, three times a day.
When you’re first starting, it may be easier to do Kegel exercises lying down, so your muscles aren’t fighting against gravity. It may also be easier to contract the muscles for just two or three seconds at first.
After a few weeks, increase the time until eventually you’re contracting the muscles for a slow five or 10 seconds, and do the exercises standing up. That puts more weight on the muscles, boosting your workout and improving your control.
Remember not to tense your buttock, legs, or stomach muscles while you’re doing Kegels.
When Will You See Results from Kegel Exercises?
Seeing results with any exercise takes time, so be patient. If you do Kegels three times a day, you should see better bladder control in three to six weeks -- some men see it even sooner. Try keeping a record of your urine leakage each day to help you notice improvements.
If you don’t see any change in a month, you may not have located the right muscles for Kegel exercises. Give your doctor or urologist a call. They can offer tips on how to find and successfully exercise the right muscles.