Pelvic Floor Exercises
What are Pelvic floor exercises or kegel exercises?
Also known as Kegel exercises, pelvic floor muscle exercises help in strengthening the muscles of the pelvic floor. Muscles of the pelvic floor, Pubococcygeal Muscles are the main area of focus for this exercise.
What are Pelvic Floor muscles?
These Pubococcygeal muscles are found in both men and women. These muscles bolster the muscles of the urethra, bladder, and bowel. It also helps in enhancing your sexual function along with improving your bladder control.
How do I find my pelvic floor muscles?
Before you start working on your pelvic floor, you need to know which muscles are supporting your pelvic floor region.it might be difficult to find pelvic floor muscles at first but with the right approach,
Here is one way which will help you in finding pelvic floor muscles. There are multiple other ways also.
- Relax the muscles of your thighs, abdomen, and buttocks
- Start and stop your urine stream while you stand at your toilet to urinate. Repeat this process at least two or three times.
Or you can also try by
- Squeeze in the muscles around the anus. Do not clench the buttocks, thighs, or stomach.
The muscles you have used to stop your urine flow and also the ones which help in contracting the anus are your pelvic floor muscles. These muscles are the ones that you want to strengthen before and after your prostate cancer treatment.
How to do a Kegel Exercise?
Now that you know where your pelvic floor muscles are present, you can proceed to exercise by following these simple steps:
Squeeze and release method:
- Sit in a comfortable position and make sure to relax your pelvic floor muscles
- Focus on your pelvic floor muscles
- Tighten your pelvic floor muscles and hold them for about five seconds
- Relax your pelvic muscles. You have just done one Kegel exercise. You should plan to do 10 to 20 Kegel exercises three to four times each day.
Another way to tighten your pelvic floor muscles is to:
- Squeeze or contract the muscles of your anus (similar to how you hold your bowel movement). Hold it for 5 secs at least.
- Relax your pelvic floor muscles for 5 secs
- Repeat the same exercise 10-20 times
Kegel exercises focus on squeezing and holding the muscles that control urine flow i.e., urethra.
Here is a simple instruction for you to do the kegel exercise
- Sit in a comfortable position, close the eyes, and focus on pelvic floor muscles which can stop urine flow.
- Squeeze these muscles as much as possible.
- Hold in this position for 3–5 seconds or up to 10 sec depending upon you. You must notice that these muscles are lifted up due to squeezing
- Relax the muscles and rest for 5 or more seconds
- Repeat this up to 10 times.
You can do this even while standing, sitting, crouching, etc.
Bridge exercise primarily strengthens the buttocks, it also helps work the pelvic floor muscles.
Here is a simple way to perform this exercise:
- Lie on the back and bend the knees
- Keep your feet flat on the floor about hip-width apart
- Keep the arms by the sides with the palms facing down.
- Squeeze the buttocks and pelvic floor muscles
- Raise the buttocks several inches off the ground.
- Hold this position for 3–8 seconds.
- Relax the buttocks and pelvic floor muscles, and lower the buttocks to the ground.
- Repeat this up to 10 times per set.
Gradually increase the sets as you feel increased strength.
Squats can help strengthen the pelvic floor and buttocks.
To perform a squat, a person should:
- Stand with the feet hip-width apart, keeping them flat on the floor and take a deep breath.
- Bend at the knees to bring the buttocks toward the floor, going only as low as is comfortable.
- Keep the back straight and tilted slightly forward. The knees should be in line with the toes.
- Focus on tightening the buttocks and pelvic floor while returning to a standing position.
- Take sufficient rest before performing any additional sets.
For strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, narrow and shallow squats are suitable. Wide-legged and deep squats will become a problem in pelvic floor contraction
Things to keep in mind while doing Pelvic floor muscle exercises
When you do your everyday Kegel routine, there are a few things and tips you need to follow.
- Before doing Kegels, always remember to empty your bladder.
- Do not push down. Squeeze your muscles together tightly and imagine that you are trying to lift this muscle up.
- Never hold your breath while doing kegel exercises.
- You should not squeeze/tighten/ contract the muscles in your stomach, buttocks, or thighs.
- Relax your pelvic floor muscles between each squeeze for at least 5 secs.
- Results and effectiveness vary from person to person. For some results might be faster than others and for some, it might take few months. So it is advised to have patience.
Benefits of Kegel exercises for men
Many factors can weaken your pelvic floor muscles, including the surgical removal of the prostate (radical prostatectomy) and conditions such as diabetes and an overactive bladder.
You might benefit from doing Kegel exercises if you:
Have urinary or fecal incontinence: Kegel exercises are proven to be helpful in preventing urinary and fecal incontinence as per a study.
Improves erectile dysfunction: A research shows that 40%of patients gained normal erectile, and 34.5 % of patients had seen improved erection after 3-6 months of pelvic floor muscle rehabilitation treatment to treat erectile dysfunction.
Improves premature ejaculation: Research suggests that pelvic floor muscle rehabilitation has made 82.5% of the patients gain control of their ejaculatory reflex. Thus controlling premature ejaculation and make you last longer.
When to do your Kegels
Make Kegel exercises part of your daily routine. For example:
- Along with your daily chores and routines: Do Kegels whenever you doing a simple task such as brushing, bathing, etc
- Do Kegels just after you urinate, to get rid of the last few drops of urine.
Pelvic floor exercises or Kegel exercises are very beneficial for men. It helps in decreasing erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation- a majorly seen sex-related problem these days.
You can do Kegel exercises at your convenience and at any time. Make sure to follow the tips mentioned to maximize the benefits of pelvic floor muscle exercises.