Mend Physical Therapy Blog and Injury Information

Do Men Need To Do Kegels?

August 22, 2023

Yes, men have a pelvic floor too! At Mend in Boulder and Lafayette, our pelvic health specialists treat all male pelvic health concerns.

Some signs of a male pelvic health dysfunction could include:

  • Frequent urination

  • Strong urge to urinate

  • Delayed start of stream or disrupted stream

  • Erectile dysfunction

  • Chronic constipation

  • Pain in genitals or rectum

  • Incontinence

Read our blog here about the most common men’s pelvic health diagnosis treated by physical therapy.

Many who consult a doctor or Google for solutions to these issues arrive at one answer: Kegels. However, Kegels are not the answer to all male pelvic health concerns and may not be enough! Why?

1. Pelvic floor strengthening is not for everyone.

Many pelvic floor dysfunctions and the symptoms listed above may be caused by a hypertonic or too tight and guarded pelvic floor. This leads to the musculature not functioning as it properly should. If pelvic floor tension is the issue, Kegels could be promoting more tension in the region and may not be the first treatment option.

2. Most may not be doing Kegels properly.

It has been shown that about 40% of people perform Kegels incorrectly. Common performance errors include bulging the pelvic floor rather than contracting, compensating with other muscles rather than using pelvic floor muscles, or not performing a lift motion with contractions. Clinically we also see other errors such as not fully relaxing after each contraction or not coordinating with proper breathing patterns.

3. The pelvic floor does not work in isolation.

Imagine you wanted to improve your ability to go up and down stairs. Would simply doing an exercise to squeeze your quad muscle be enough to return to that function? No. The pelvic floor should not be treated any differently than other muscle groups. The pelvic floor works as a piece in an intricate system including the adductors, gluts, diaphragm, transverse abdominis, hip rotators, and even the feet, to coordinate loads from functional activities. This whole system must be evaluated and treated, not one component. Areas outside of the pelvic floor should be evaluated to see if they could be influencing one’s pelvic floor dysfunction. Additionally, the pelvic floor should be used in more dynamic ways than just squeezing it, i.e. what are you doing with your pelvic floor while squatting or lifting?

Kegels may not be the answer. We recommend all men with pelvic health concerns to see a pelvic health physical therapist that specializes in treating men to get a thorough evaluation to determine what treatment they may need.