To all the men who experience bladder leaks, this blog post is for you. I’m sure you’ve read or been told by your doctor to do pelvic floor exercises (also known as Kegel exercises) every day. But does finding and squeezing that muscle seem confusing and time-consuming? Well, don’t worry we’ve got you covered. In this post, we’re going to break down exactly how to do pelvic floor exercises for men.
What is the pelvic floor and where is it?
Before we look at pelvic floor exercises for men, have you asked yourself, what is the pelvic floor and where the heck is it?
Well, the pelvic floor is a sheet of muscle that runs from your tailbone to your pubic bone which supports your bladder and bowel. The pelvic floor helps to control the urethra (the tube that carries wee out of your body) and the back passage (where poo passes through)(1).
When men’s pelvic floor muscles becomes weak, it can cause problems such as:
- You may find wee comes out when you laugh, cough, sneeze or lift a heavy object
- You urgently need the loo
- You need to keep popping to the toilet and you may leak before you get there
- You might dribble after you’ve used the loo
- You may have problems getting an erection or you might ejaculate quicker than you’d want to
- You aren’t able to stop passing wind
Causes of a weak pelvic floor in men
The reason why men experience bladder leaks can vary and it’s important to chat to your doctor to find out the cause of your leaks. A handful of reasons why your pelvic floor may be weak are you’re:
- Not exercising regularly
- Lifting heavy items
- Straining when going for a poo
- Coughing a lot
- Taking Medication
- Or perhaps you’ve got a urinary tract infection or had surgery on your prostate
However, that doesn’t have to be the end of the story. It’s possible to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and put a stop to your bladder leaks(2).
Step by step: how to do pelvic floor exercises for men
Now we’ve looked at what the pelvic floor muscle is and the causes of bladder leaks, we know you must be thinking, how do I do a pelvic floor exercise? So we’ve popped a step-by-step guide below to help you.
There are two types of pelvic floor exercises for men:
- Slow twitch
- Fast twitch
The NHS suggests you do the slow twitch set first and then the fast twitch set (1). If you’re doing these exercises for the first time, you may find it easier to start doing them lying on your back. Once you’re used to doing them, you’ll find it easier to do them while standing or sitting down(3).
To do the slow twitch exercises:
- Close and draw up the muscles around the back passage, as if you are trying to stop yourself from passing wind. If you’re struggling with this, stand in front of the mirror while you do this exercise, you should notice that the base of your penis moves inwards and your testicles rise (4). Make sure you do not tighten the muscles in your bum, stomach, or inner thigh while you’re doing this.
- Next, while breathing normally, close and draw up the muscles, as though you are trying to stop yourself from peeing.
- Then pull the muscle upwards and count how long you can hold the squeeze. To begin with, you may only be able to hold the muscle for 3-5 seconds and this is fine. Over time you can build upon the seconds. However long you can hold your muscles, relax for the same amount of time. For example, if you can hold for a count of 10, then relax for a count of 10.
- Keep going until you feel as though you can’t do it anymore.
To do the fast twitch exercises:
- Squeeze your pelvic floor muscles.
- Hold it for 1 second and then relax.
- Keep going until your pelvic floor muscle feels tired.
How often do men need to do pelvic floor exercises?
Ideally, you want to be doing 3 sets of pelvic floor exercises 3 times a day (5). Don’t do all 3 sets in one go, it’s better to spread them out over the day(3). Sometimes the amount you should be doing can depend on your situation, so it’s best to speak to your doctor before you start doing the exercises.
When is the best time for men to do pelvic floor exercises?
There’s no right or wrong time to do your pelvic floor exercises. It’s about finding a routine that works for you. As your confidence grows and you know you're squeezing the right muscle, you’ll find that you can do them sitting, standing, lying down, and even squatting (if you wish).
You may find it helpful to do your pelvic floor exercises whilst going about your day to day activities. For example, while brushing your teeth, waiting for the kettle to boil, or when in bed. If you find you leak when doing an activity e.g. lifting a heavy item. Tighten your pelvic floor before and during the lifting(5).
Benefits of pelvic floor exercises for men
There are a handful of benefits for men regularly doing pelvic floor exercises. They can(6):
- Improve your bladder leaks
- Help with prostate pain
- Improve the sensation of your orgasm and help you have more control over ejaculation.
Doing pelvic floor exercises for men won’t have a bad effect on your health. They’re safe to do and are recommended as a first-line treatment for men with bladder leaks (4). They can, however, be time-consuming and you may find them tricky to get right. If this is you, then INNOVO can help. It's a non-invasive solution to bladder leaks. It's simply a pair of black shorts you wear 5 times a week, for 30 minutes a day, in the comfort of your own home. Learn how INNOVO works so you can treat your bladder leaks and take the stress out of pelvic floor exercises.
- Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. Pelvic Floor Exercises For Men. Published September 2018.
- Oxford University Hospital. NHS. A Guide To The Pelvic Floor Muscles - Men. Reviewed November 2017.
- Harvard Health Publishing. Step-by-Step Guide To Performing Kegel Exercises. September 2019.
- Incontinence UK. Practising Male Incontinence Exercises. January 2018.
- Mayo Clinic. Kegel Exercises For Men: Understanding The Benefits. September 2020.
- Cleveland Clinic. Kegel Exercises: What Are They, How To Do, & Benefits. September 2020.