Kegel exercises – named after their inventor, Dr. Arnold Kegel – have long been used to treat urinary incontinence. There is a growing body of clinical evidence that Kegel exercises can help fight erectile dysfunction1 2 3, as well as premature ejaculation.
Kegel exercises are easy to do. Simply breathe normally while tightening your pelvic floor muscles. The exercises can be done while sitting, standing, walking, doing housework, or driving in your car. (See our article on Kegel exercises for details.)
A regular exercise program can dramatically strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, and reduce or even cure incontinence and erectile dysfunction, but it can be difficult to sustain.
According to Jason Laurent, CEO of KegelHard.com, “the issue with Kegel exercises is that they take discipline and the improvement is quite gradual. As such, like many New Year’s gym resolutions, daily Kegel routines often lose steam after a few days and get abandoned, leaving the guy feeling even more depressed about his condition. The other scenario is that you get to the point where you have regained satisfactory erectile function and so the need to practice daily is not seen as important, which will eventually lead to its abandonment as well, only to be taken up again when ED returns. So we needed something easier that required no willpower to succeed.”
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Another problem with Kegel exercises is that some men have difficulty knowing when they are “doing it right” Physical therapists often use electrical stimulation devices that generate a series of pulses, causing contractions of the pelvic floor muscles. This allows the patient to learn how proper muscle contractions should feel. Also, by using electrical stimulation, therapists are able to deliver a better workout than unassisted exercises.
Electrical stimulation is also used to strengthen and rehabilitate muscles following injuries or surgeries, so the technology is well established. A 2020 study of women also found that electrical stimulation strengthened pelvic floor muscles4.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, “With electrical stimulation, the pelvic floor muscles are touched with a small, painless amount of electric current. This causes these muscles to squeeze. This sensation mimics what a Kegel muscle exercise should feel like if done properly.”
Electrical Stimulation at Home
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A new device, the eKegel, is an Electronic Muscle Stimulation (EMS) machine. It provides electrical stimulation to the pelvic floor muscles at home. The pocket-sized device uses two simple contact pads that can be placed externally on the body; it is non-intrusive and it can be used anywhere. Although it looks similar, an EMS is not the same as a Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) machine5. TENS is designed specifically for pain relief by stimulating surface nerves, while EMS uses longer waves and more intense stimulation to trigger muscle contractions.
Like the clinical equipment used by physical therapists, the eKegel allows the user to adjust the waveform, the intensity, frequency, and duration. There are instructions for “tuning” your routine, but for users who are not tech-savvy, the device works with its default settings right out of the box. Just attach the contacts and increase the intensity until you find a comfortable level. There is a lock feature to prevent accidentally changing the settings.
The company recommends a ten-minute daily workout for the first few weeks, then as needed. (To prevent over-exercising, the eKegel will automatically shut off after ten minutes.)
The price for the eKegel is $495. Because there are no moving parts to break or wear out, it should provide years of use.
For a limited time, our readers can get 20% off their order. Just use coupon code EDTreatment20 at checkout.
See what’s in the box before you buy! Check out our Unboxing the eKegel video.
Using the eKegel
The eKegel comes with simple instructions. There are two contact pads, which are attached to the device using wires. Place one pad on your perineum, and one just over your tailbone, and turn on the device. It is programmed for an automatic 10-minute session.
You’ll feel a mild tickling sensation under the pads. Press the (+) button on the eKegel to increase the intensity until it’s just short of uncomfortable. Relax and let the electrical impulses give your pelvic floor muscles a workout!
There are other settings on the eKegel that you can adjust, including the frequency and duration of the pulse, and the “wave form” (sinus, square, triangle, or sawtooth). The default setting of the device provide a good workout; later, you may want to experiment with some of the settings to vary your routine.
- Dorey, G.; Speakman, M.J.; Feneley, R. C.; Swinkels, A., Dunn, C. D. “Pelvic Floor Exercises for Erectile Dysfunction.” BJU International. Sep 2005; 96(4):595-7. <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16104916>
- Dorey, G; Siegel, A; Nelson, P. “The Effect of a Pelvic Floor Muscle Training Program Using Active and Resisted Exercises on Male Sexual Function: A Randomised Controlled Trial.” 2015. <https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/The-Effect-of-a-Pelvic-Floor-Muscle-Training-Using-Ga/de9b6634ce40eda684107c5be537d73c3ee116c6>
- Rosenbaum, Talli Yehuda. “Pelvic Floor Involvement in Male and Female Sexual Dysfunction and the Role of Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation in Treatment: A Literature Review.” The Journal of Sexual Medicine. January 2007; pp 4-13 <https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1743609515314934>
- Hwang, Ui-Jae; Kwon, Oh-Yun; Lee, Min-Seok. “Effects of surface electrical stimulation during sitting on pelvic floor muscle function and sexual function in women with stress urinary incontinence.” Obstetrics & Gynecology Science. May 2020; 63(3): 370–378. <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7231947/>
- “What’s the Difference Between TENS and EMS Units?” HealthLine. Jan 2021.