Men can benefit from Kegel exercises, which women often do to regain continence after childbirth, researchers said on Friday. Women are advised to do the exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor to counter the occasional incontinence that can follow childbirth or come after menopause. But some men, it seems, can benefit from them as well.
A TEAM at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Los Angeles studied 38 men who had cancerous prostate glands removed. The procedure, a radical prostatectomy, can cause at least temporary incontinence in up to 87 percent of men who have the surgery, said Dr. Sherif Aboseif, who led the study.
Half the men got instructions on how to do Kegels and were advised to do them twice a day after surgery. Half got no special instructions, Aboseif wrote in the July issue of the journal Urology. "Overall 66 percent of the patients were continent at 16 weeks," Aboseif's team wrote.
But those given Kegel training regained control earlier, they added. They measured this by counting how many incontinence pads a man used. After a year 82 percent of patients had regained control, whether they did the Kegels or not, his team added. A Kegel exercise is done by contracting the pelvic muscles as if the patient was trying to hold in urine.
Prostate surgery is not the only cause of incontinence in men - prostate enlargement that comes with normal aging can also cause incontinence, as can a range of other conditions, although the researchers did not test the efficacy of Kegels in men suffering from other conditions.