Kegel exercises – or pelvic floor exercises – are a quick and easy way to strengthen the muscles between your legs, otherwise known as the pelvic floor, or Levator Ani.
The pelvic floor consists of the Pubococcygeus, Puborectalis, and Iliococcygeus muscles:
● The Pubococcygeus runs from the pelvic bone to the coccyx (tailbone), and is the main part of the pelvic floor. It forms a rough hammock shape and supports the pelvic organs, as well as controlling urine flow, erections, and ejaculation.
● The Puborectalis forms a sling which supports the rectum, assisting in the control of defecation by changing the angle between rectum and anus, making it easier or harder to defecate, and as such is particularly important for incontinence.
● The Iliococcygeus is the smallest of the three, and doesn’t interact with any of the pelvic organs, but connects and assists the other muscles in the pelvic floor, as well as being attached to the coccyx.
These are obviously important muscles, but due to their location they can be difficult to exercise using other methods. However, regular use of Kegal exercises will keep them in perfect condition, and produce noticeable results within 4-6 weeks.
Advantages of Pelvic Floor exercises
Medically, strengthening the pelvic floor can help with incontinence, prevention of prolapse of pelvic organs (e.g. rectal prolapse), benign prostatic hyperplasia, and inflammation of the prostate. They are particularly beneficial to anyone undergoing surgery relating to the pelvic floor area, as it will allow for a faster recovery, as well as reducing the likelihood of complications.
Sexually, however, they can also increase the size of your erections, their firmness, and how long they last after ejaculation, as well as preventing premature ejaculation. This makes Kegel exercises a great way to improve your sex life, leaving both you and your partner more satisfied. It also develops the Cremasteric reflex, which retracts the testicles during sex and in situations where they are vulnerable, which prevents testicular bruising.
An added benefit of Kegel exercises is that they require no specialist equipment, and can be performed at any time, such as while working in the office, waiting in a queue, or while stuck in traffic. It’s not recommended to perform Kegel exercises whilst urinating however, as this may cause urine retention.
Performing Kegel Exercises
To perform Kegel exercises, think about how you stop the flow of urine. This is simply the contraction of the pelvic floor, and is the action behind Kegel exercises. To actually perform a Kegel exercise, simply follow these three steps:
1. Contract the pelvic floor muscles
2. Hold them in position for 5 seconds
3. Relax the muscles
Repeat this activity 20 times, two times a day. After a week or two you can raise slowly it to 40, then on to 60, and even beyond. It’s important you only contract the pelvic floor during these exercises, and not your abdominal, buttock, or thigh muscles, as this will reduce their effectiveness.
After 4-6 weeks of performing these exercises you should start to notice an increase in the size and firmness of your erections, and improvements to any of the medical problems listed above. Continual performance of these exercises are required to maintain these changes, and increasing the number of repetitions per session will increase the effects.
The Science of PC Muscle Exercises
The following is a summary of 3 independent studies into the effects of pelvic floor workouts on erectile dysfunction and incontinence:
1. A study of 55 men with long-term erectile dysfunction (at least 6 months) instructed them to perform Kegel exercises as described above for 3 months, with 75% regaining full or partial erectile function, while 25% reported no change.
2. A randomized controlled trial of men also with erectile dysfunction and with both faecal and urinary incontinence showed that Kegel exercises greatly relieved both forms of incontinence, and restored erectile function in the majority of subjects.
3. 63 men with erectile dysfunction due to prostatectomies were split into two study groups; one (consisting of 35 subjects) starting to perform Kegel exercises straight after surgery, the second (consisting of 27) for waiting 3 months before beginning the exercises. The first group showed a substantially greater number of subjects regaining erectile function within the time frame.Google+