Kegel Exercises:
Strengthening the Pelvic Floor



Male Kegel Exercises after Surgery

Improve Bladder Control. Regain your continence sooner after a robotic prostatectomy.

Kegel exercise strengthens the group of muscles called the pelvic floor muscles (also known as PC muscles which stand for pubococcygeus.) These muscles contract and relax around the bladder and the bladder opening at your command. When these muscles are weak, urine leakage may result. You can exercise these muscles just like any other muscle in your body, and building them up may help reduce your symptoms. It is important that you perform these exercises correctly and consistently to gain maximum benefit after prostate cancer surgery.

Post-Operative Instructions: Finding the Pelvic Muscles

It is important that you exercise the correct muscles, to find them:

* Tighten your rectum as if you are trying to control passing gas or pinching off a stool. Do not tense the muscles of your legs, buttocks, or abdomen. Do not hold your breath.
* You can also imagine that you are trying to stop the flow of urine. If you still cannot find these muscles, you might try actually urinating and then trying to slow or stop the flow of urine midstream without using leg, buttocks or abdominal muscles.
* When you find these muscles, you will feel the muscles pulling upward and inward. Your penis and testicles also will move up and down slightly as you contract and relax.
* If you still are unsure if you are using the proper muscles, or if symptoms are not improving, contact your physician for more help.

How to Do the Male Kegel Exercises

*Male Kegel exercise is best done after emptying your bladder.
* Tighten the muscles you located above and hold for 3 to 5 seconds, or as long as you can at first. As these muscles get stronger, you will able to hold them longer.
* Relax for 3 to 5 seconds or for as long as you tightened the muscles, then repeat.
* Breathe normally.
* Do 5 to 7 exercises at a time, 3 times a day minimum. As you get stronger, increase up to 15 exercises at a time, 4 times a day.
* In addition for more advanced exercises, you might consider incorporating a series of quick flexes (1 second) into this routine of long flexes. For example, perform 30 quick (1 second flexes) rapidly. Then 1 long contraction for as long as you can. Then repeat. Add more repetitions as you get stronger.
* The key, as with any physical training, is to set up a consistent routine and to perform the exercise properly.

When to Exercise the Male Kegal Muscles

* You can perform male Kegel exercises anywhere at any time. People around you will not even know you are doing them. Take advantage of this by incorporating kegel exercises into your daily routine. For example, you can do them while driving a car, waiting in line, watching television, reading a book. Be sure to exercise daily. The more you do, the better.
* You can also do these when you have an incontinent episode. For example, if you are experiencing urinary leakage on the way to the bathroom, stop and do a few kegel exercises until the leakage stops and then continue to the bathroom. If you leak urine when you cough, tighten the muscles quickly as you cough to reduce leakage. This is your best method of reducing leakage at inconvenient times.

Things to Remember about Male Kegal Exercise

* Make sure you are ONLY using the pelvic muscles. When you are first beginning the male Kegal exercise, you may consider standing in front of a mirror with a hand or on your abdomen or buttocks to feel for movement. It is important that you do NOT use your abdominals, buttocks, or leg muscles.
* Remember to breathe normally while exercising. Kegel exercise does not involve holding your breath.
* Exercise takes time to strengthen these muscles, just as with any physical therapy. You should start noticing less leakage after 4-6 weeks of consistent daily exercise, and an even larger difference after 3 months. If you do not see an improvement, you may not be exercising the proper muscles. You should be keeping track of how many pads you use per day to monitor your own progress.
* Pelvic muscle exercises also improve orgasmic function thereby speeding your return to potency. Contracting these muscles can aid in squeezing more blood into the penis to improve erectile function.
* Be pro-active, do your kegel exercises faithfully and you will see results.