Bladder control problems can occur when the pelvic muscles that help restrict the flow of urine lose strength, reports the American Academy of Family Physicians, or AAFP. Men can experience a weakening of pelvic muscles from prostate surgery. An enlarged prostate, known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH, may also impair bladder control. The prostate encircles the urethra, which is a tube that sits just under the bladder. The urethra transports urine from the bladder during urination. Men can regain pelvic muscle strength and bladder control by performing Kegal exercises, notes the University of Maryland Medical Center, or UMMC.
Pinpoint Correct Muscles
Finding the proper muscle is necessary to reap the potential benefits of Kegal exercises. People sometimes squeeze the thigh or abdominal muscle instead of the pelvic floor muscle. Tightening the wrong muscle can actually make bladder control problems worse, cautions the UMMC.
Men can learn to identify the right muscles by inserting a finger into the rectum and trying to squeeze the muscles surrounding the finger as they would to stop the flow of urine. Men may also get a feel for the pelvic floor muscles by acting as though they are trying to hold in gas, notes AAFP. The area around the rectum should feel as though it is rising.
Squeeze Pelvic Muscles
Remember to breathe freely when you practice Kegal exercises. Squeeze the pelvic muscles briefly, and then relax. You may only be able to hold the muscles in for 3 to 6 seconds at first and begin to tire after only a handful of repetitions, advises the University of Michigan Health System, or UMHS.
Long and Short Contractions
Kegal exercises include both short and long squeezes, according to the AAFP. When performing short contractions, tighten your pelvic floor muscles for only 2 seconds, and then rest. Long squeezes should be held for 5 to 10 seconds. Rotate between long and short squeezes throughout the day for a total of 80 to 100 repetitions.
Kegal exercises can be performed anywhere, but they are typically carried out while sitting in a chair or lying down, notes the UMMC.
A positive reinforcement technique known as biofeedback can assist men in identifying the pelvic floor muscles. Biofeedback may help ensure that Kegal movements will improve bladder control, according to the UMMC.
During a biofeedback session electrodes are set on the abdomen and around the anal area. A sensor is sometimes positioned in the anus to help men feel the correct muscles. A nearby monitor will show which muscles are being tightened and which are at rest.
When performed correctly and regularly, Kegal exercises may improve bladder control in 6 to 12 weeks.