Kegel Exercises are not just for women! Kegel Exercises strengthen your pelvic floor muscles – your sphincters, bladder and pubococcygeus/PC muscle – which support the bladder in order to control urine flow. Women are often advised to practice Kegels before and after childbirth and to prevent pelvic organ prolapse, a condition that occurs when the pelvic muscles descend into the vagina, causing incontinence and other challenges. Kegels are also great for prostate cancer patients because they help minimize incontinence and can ameliorate erectile issues. (It has been suggested that Kegels can improve the orgasmic response in both men and women as well!) However, understanding how to do a proper Kegel Exercise can be difficult for those who do not know how to identify their pelvic floor muscles. In turn, it might be helpful to do Kegels with your partner! Kegels are very discreet and can be done anywhere once you learn how to do them – below are some directions for men and women adopted from the UCLA Department of Urology and the Mayo Clinic.
Kegel Exercises for Men and Women:
- Men and women can easily find their pelvic floor muscles by squeezing their sphincters and contracting their urethra in order to stop the flow of urination when using the bathroom.
- After identifying their pelvic floor muscles, men and women can practice Kegel Exercises by squeezing them 10 times for 5 seconds each as much as 4 times daily. Take a 5 second break between each repetition. Start slowly – it may take a number of weeks or months to be able to contract your muscles for 5 seconds at a time.
- Establishing a comfortable position is imperative for successful Kegels, so do not hesitate to experiment with sitting down, lying down, resting on your side, etc. to determine what is best for you.
- Note: After you initially find your pelvic floor muscles, do not practice Kegels while urinating; this can lead to weakening the bladder or not fully emptying the bladder.
Alternative Kegel Exercises for Women:
- Women can also identify their pelvic floor muscles by slowly inserting a finger inside the vagina and then contracting their vaginal muscles. You should feel a tightening sensation around the finger during the muscle contraction and a relaxation after the contraction has been released.
For more information, check out these resources!