The perineal muscle is really a group of muscles located in an area known as the perineum, which is the triangular area between the coccyx and genitalia. More often, this area is referenced as the pelvic floor.
For men, kegel exercises that strengthen the pelvic floor can help with urinary issues, prostate problems and fecal incontinence, according to the Mayo Clinic. They can also be effective in treating male urinary incontinence after prostatectomy or radiotherapy for prostate cancer, per a small study published in the April 2021 European Journal of Oncology Nursing.
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Read more: How to Know When You Are Overdoing Kegel Exercises
Finding the Muscles
Before you begin any sort of perineal exercise, you must first learn to isolate the muscles of the pelvic floor. The easiest way to do this is by attempting to stop the flow of your urination, according to the Mayo Clinic. The perineal muscles (along with the bladder) are responsible for stopping your stream, and you should feel them contract when attempting this maneuver.
If the muscles are weak, you might have difficulty isolating them or feeling them move. In this case, insert one of your fingers into your rectum and tighten the muscles, again as if you are holding in your urine, then relax, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. You should feel the muscles moving up and down.
Before you try kegel exercises, make sure to empty your bladder. Begin by lying on your back — this position makes the contraction easier, according to Harvard Health Publishing. Contract your pelvic floor muscles for about three to five seconds and then release for three to five seconds. Repeat these intervals 10 times. As you get a feel for contracting the pelvic floor, you can begin to perform these exercises while sitting or standing.
Avoid flexing your abdominal, leg or glute muscles in the process, recommends Harvard Health Publishing. With more practice, you can gradually increase the length of the contraction, working up to 10-second holds. Shoot for about 30 to 40 kegels per day, spread throughout the day.
Read more: Pelvis Circulation Exercises
See Your Doctor If Necessary
Begin your kegel exercises slowly, ramping up the length of contractions over time. As with any type of exercise, you want to gradually introduce your body to the new muscle movement. While kegel exercises can help with various health concerns, like incontinence, be sure to consult a doctor if your symptoms persist.
- US National Library of Medicine: "Kegel Exercises"
- Mayo Clinic: "Kegel exercises for men: Understand the benefits"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Step-by-step guide to performing Kegel exercises"
- European Journal of Oncology Nursing: "Effect of Kegel Exercises on the Prevention of Urinary and Fecal Incontinence in Patients with Prostate Cancer Undergoing Radiotherapy"
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