For men with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or enlarged prostate, pelvic muscle exercises known as Kegel exercises can relieve symptoms by strengthening the muscles around your bladder and penis. While generally considered beneficial for women during childbirth, Kegel exercises may help with urinary symptoms like:
Waking up to urinate at night
Weak urine stream
Urgency to urinate
What Are Pelvic Floor Muscles?
Pelvic floor muscles support the bladder, anus and intestines. In women, they also help push a baby through the vaginal opening during childbirth. They are located on the inner portion of the pelvic bones.
Locating Your Pelvic Floor Muscles
Before performing Kegel exercises, you need to locate the pelvic floor muscles. Theycontrol the flow of urine, so a good way to find them is to stop and start your urine stream while urinating. Don't tense your legs, abdomen or buttocks while doing this.
You will have found your pelvic floor muscles when you have successfully stopped or slowed down your urine. It's these muscles you want to target during the exercise.
A good technique to find your pelvic floor muscles is to imagine someone walking into the bathroom while you urinate, and you need to stop what you're doing.
Another way to find them, which the American Urological Association recommends, is to try to move your penis up or down without moving the rest of your body. If you can do this, you are using your pelvic floor muscles.
Don't worry if you don't find them immediately. Many men need several attempts.
Once you've identified your pelvic floor muscles, you can begin performing the Kegel exercises. They´re not painful to do. In fact, you should find them easy and relaxing.
Here are a few you can try out:
Lie down on a bed or a mat with your knees bent and feet flat.
Lift yourself up from the buttocks while keeping your hands flat and contracting the pelvic floor muscles. Hold the contraction for up to 10 seconds, then lower your hips back down and release the muscles. Do this ten times.
Sit on a chair or stand in front of a mirror.
Contract the pelvic floor muscles for up to ten seconds, then relax them for three seconds.
Repeat this cycle ten times.
Contract the anus muscles (as if you are holding a bowel movement).
After each attempt, relax your pelvic floor muscles.
Repeat this exercise 10 to 20 times.
As you squeeze and relax the muscles, count slowly - "1, 2, 3 and ..... "
Be careful not to flex the muscles in your buttocks, thighs or abdomen. Also, don't hold your breath while doing the exercises. Breathe freely.
You can also perform Kegel exercises during routine activities such as watching TV, walking or working in the office. The steps are the same as those you perform in the exercises highlighted above.
You can also perform Kegel exercises when:
Washing the dishes
Waiting in a queue
Brushing your teeth
Reading a book or magazine
Waiting in traffic lights while in your car
Traveling by bus or train
Sitting in a café
How Often Should I Perform Kegel Exercises?
It may take you a short while to get used to doing Kegel exercises. Start slowly, and as you get better at doing them, gradually increase the number of times you repeat the exercises. Your goal should be around 20 Kegel exercises three to four times a day.
Try to set aside up to 30 minutes each day for these exercises. Before long, they'll be a part of your daily routine.
When Will I See the Results?
Don't expect to see miracle results overnight. Like any form of exercise, it can take a while for the benefits to become apparent. However, once you have mastered the exercise techniques and are doing them regularly, you should see an improvement in bladder control and urinary symptoms within six weeks.
If one month passes and you haven't noticed any difference, you may not have located the correct muscles. In any case, have a chat with your urologist, who can tell you how to find the muscles correctly. Don't be embarrassed to ask for help if you need it. Your healthcare provider has important information that can help you.
Benefits of Kegel Exercises
The key benefits include:
Improve prostate health by increasing blood flow to the gland.
Prevent urine leakage and decreases the urge to urinate by strengthening and
building the urinary bladder sphincter. The exercises can also minimize fecal
Improve sexual function by controlling premature ejaculation and making
erections last longer.
Although Kegel exercises can help alleviate some symptoms, they do not address the issue of having an enlarged prostate. For many men with BPH, the best way forward to reduce the prostate's size is with medication, surgery or minimally invasive treatments such as prostatic artery embolization (PAE).
This non-surgical procedure is performed on an outpatient basis and involves releasing thousands of microscopic beads into arteries that feed the prostate. They block off the blood flow to the gland, so it shrinks, bringing symptom relief.
At the Midwest Institute for Non-surgical Therapy (MINT), we specialize in performing PAE and have helped hundreds of men with BPH. For more information and to schedule a free consultation, please get in touch with us today at one of our 5 locations, including Chicago, IL.