Pelvic Exercises for Men and Women
A step-by-step guide on how to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that support the bladder.
What Are Kegel Exercises?
Kegel exercises target the pelvic floor muscles that support the bladder and strengthen bladder control. Kegel exercises are for both men and women, and can be performed discreetly anytime, anywhere.
Why Kegel Exercises Work
If your pelvic floor muscles are weakened from nerve damage due to childbirth, injury, stroke, or menopause, you might be experiencing issues with your bladder. These could be bladder leaks, overly-frequent and urgent rushes to the bathroom, or just a general loss of bladder control. Kegel exercises help you rehabilitate and strengthen those muscles, so you can regain control of your bladder function.
Locating Your Pelvic Muscles
When you go to the bathroom, try to stop the flow of urine a few times. That's your pelvic muscles at work. Now try to stop passing gas from your rectum. That pull/squeeze is also your pelvic muscles contracting.
Imagine pulling a string up from your vagina towards the belly button: that's the pelvic floor muscles.
Stand in front of a mirror and make a contraction in your pelvic area: if you see the base of your penis move closer to your abdomen and your testicles rise, you've just used your pelvic floor muscles.
How to Perform Kegel Exercises
When you first start doing Kegels, it's best to be lying down to make sure you're getting the most out of them. You can do them when you first wake up, or when you're going to sleep, or anytime during the day you can take a moment to lie on the floor. As your muscles strengthen, you can be doing them anywhere; sitting at your desk, standing on the train, or wherever works for you.
Ready, Set, Contract!
Before you get started, be sure to empty your bladder. Contract the pelvic muscles, squeeze for 5 seconds and then relax for 5 seconds. Repeat this exercise 10 to 15 times per session, and make sure your breathing freely during the exercise. Try to repeat this session at least 3 times a day.
Don't Forget to Ask an Expert
While you're working to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles on your own, it's also important to talk to your healthcare provider for a full assessment and to establish a treatment plan. There are many options including behavioral and dietary changes, medication, and even surgery. And remember that Prevail® protective hygiene products can help you feel fresh and live your life with comfort, control, and confidence. In fact, Prevail is a leading protective hygiene brand in healthcare.
Have more questions about Kegel exercises or need additional support with managing leaks? Talk to a Prevail® eNurse™ 24/7 for advice.