What are Kegel exercises for men?

Kegel exercises or pelvic floor muscle exercises consist of repeated contraction and realization of the muscles that form part of the pelvic floor, to strengthen the pelvic floor. Arnold Kegel first described the exercises in 1948, and historically the exercises treated female patients in an effort to aid with stress incontinence following childbirth. However, with time pelvic floor muscle therapy and other forms of behavioral therapy have been demonstrated to be useful in a variety of conditions, including overactive bladder, male lower urinary tract symptoms, post radical prostatectomy, urinary incontinence, erectile dysfunction and climacturia, fecal incontinence, and premature ejaculation. Unlike typical exercise routines, these exercises don’t require the participant to buy any weights or expensive machines. However, the success of Kegel exercises is dependent on proper performance of the exercises.

What are the benefits of Kegel exercises for men?

In men, Kegel exercises are primarily a first-line therapy in men with urinary incontinence after a radical prostatectomy. Studies have demonstrated that patients should start pelvic floor muscle therapy prior to radical prostatectomy and continue postoperatively for the best results.

Overactive bladder symptoms can occur in men as well as women. Contraction of the pelvic floor muscles can suppress bladder contractions and thus pelvic floor muscle therapy is a part of the first-line management of overactive bladder.

Researchers have evaluated the role of pelvic floor muscle therapy, Kegel exercises, in the management of erectile dysfunction and orgasm associated urinary incontinence (climacturia) after radical prostatectomy. One study demonstrated that men with erectile dysfunction and climacturia one year after nerve-sparing radical prostatectomy had significantly improvement in erectile function with pelvic floor muscle training at 15 months and that the effect was maintained during follow-up. In addition, in those men performing pelvic floor muscle therapy, there was a significant improvement in climacturia.

Pelvic floor muscle therapy, Kegel exercises, is helpful in men with premature ejaculation. In fact, in one study, pelvic floor therapy consisting of biofeedback, pelvic exercises and electrostimulation led to a cure in premature ejaculation in 50% of patients with a history of lifelong premature ejaculation, within two to six months of starting therapy.

Kegel exercises treats nocturia (awakening at night to urinate). A preliminary study showed that behavioral therapy (including pelvic floor muscle exercises) in men, alone or in combination with an alpha-blocker (medical therapy for benign prostate enlargement), consistently showed large favorable effects on sleep, nocturia reduction, and quality of life.

Kegel exercises are harmless if performed correctly. Some people have reported chest and abdominal pain, but these occurrences are the result of inappropriately performed exercises. Proper education and performance of the Kegel exercises is important to achieve the best results. Patients can learn how to properly perform Kegels at their doctor’s office, via paper instructions, or online tutorials. However, success will depend on the contracting the proper muscles regularly.