Are kegel exercises harmful, particularly to the prostate?

Kegel exercises if performed correctly and following medical advice should not impact on the prostate.

Often kegel exercises are recommended prior to surgery (if undergoing surgery to remove the prostate gland as with prostate cancer). Performing kegel exercises prior to surgery helps to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and can help with incontinence and erectile dysfunction following surgery.

The key point to remember when performing kegel exercises is to not squeeze too hard, otherwise muscles other than the pelvic floor muscles can be activated.

An effective way of testing or practising kegel exercises is to start by gently engaging the pelvic floor muscles. For men, start by lying on your back with knees bent and feet on the ground. Try to imagine wading into very cold water and trying to gently ‘lift up' and feel the pelvic floor muscles gently contract. Hold this contraction for 2–3 seconds and then release the contraction. Repeat this exercise 10–12 times, 2–3 times per day. Then gradually start to increase the amount of seconds you hold the contraction for (usually up to 10 seconds).

There are structured pelvic floor exercise programs available which can also be used to treat incontinence and erectile dysfunction in men.

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