Listen up, it’s Men’s Health Month and we want to have a candid conversation with you. If you’re scratching your head at the topic of pelvic health for men you aren’t alone. We’re talking urination, bowel movements, and sexual function. It’s not exactly popular guy talk and it’s definitely not a dinner conversation. If you’ve had questions or concerns about this topic you’re in luck! We asked our Pelvic Health Physiotherapist for the honest facts about men’s pelvic health and the common conditions male patients come into the clinic for.
What’s a Pelvic Floor & Why Should I Care?
Your pelvic floor is comprised of muscles and connective tissues that support your abdominal organs and control your bladder and bowel. These muscles are also important for sexual function. Just like any other muscle in your body you want to make sure they are functioning properly. Too much stress and strain can cause tight muscles resulting in pain, while weak muscles can lead to issues like incontinence (urine leakage).
Pelvic Dysfunction is Normal
Let’s start by saying that although your best guy friends don’t discuss their pelvic health dysfunction it’s quite common. Pelvic dysfunction can be the root cause of many symptoms and problems, but spoiler alert — with Pelvic Health Physiotherapy you can resolve and improve most of these issues.
Challenges men face with pelvic dysfunction can include:
Incontinence: The inability to control urination usually stemming from problems with the prostate gland. As you age, your prostate gland enlarges and can pinch your urethra making the bladder work harder to empty. Your bladder muscles can also thicken and become overactive resulting in urine leakage.
Post Prostate-Surgery Recovery: If you had to have your prostate surgery it is almost guaranteed that rehabilitation is required to regain the control mechanism for urination. Studies show that the sooner you seek Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy the better chance of full recovery and resolution of symptoms.
Erectile Dysfunction (ED): Over 50% of men have experienced some form of ED in their lives with poor circulation and blood pressure being the culprit. Your pelvic floor muscles are important for sustaining blood flow and maintaining erections while Kegel exercises — YES KEGELS, can help maintain an erection (more on this below).
Pelvic Pain: The cause of the pain can range and be broken down further into diagnosis because the pain may be from the bladder, rectum, or prostate. Chronic Prostatitis is an example of one condition that acts as a vicious circle: tight muscles and cramping lead to more pain which leads to tighter muscles which usually require physiotherapy.
Chronic Constipation: At least 50% of people suffering from chronic constipation have pelvic floor dysfunction. Not being able to relax your muscles and coordination your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles can leave you straining and in pain.
What You Can Expect from Pelvic Health Physiotherapy
As a Registered Physiotherapist with advanced standing through the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario with a rostering in Pelvic Health, Kathy Trinder says, “Most men don’t want to openly discuss their urination and bowel movements — or their sexual function. But it’s important not to ignore the symptoms because it can become a bigger issue if you leave it.”
There is more information about women’s pelvic health issues due to childbirth, gynecologists, and mom friends who openly discuss it. Kathy says, “By the time men dealing with these issues find pelvic physiotherapy they have been privately searching for answers and their medical doctor may have not diagnosed them.” Here is what you can expect from pelvic physiotherapy.
Privacy is of the utmost importance and most therapists should have a private office so that you can feel comfortable getting the help you need. At DSANDA, we offer a quiet and private room for your medical exam, health history, and physiotherapy sessions.
You can expect to get a basic education on your pelvic anatomy because it shouldn’t be a mysterious thing. Kathy says, “Most men come in not knowing much about their pelvic floor but it’s important to link the symptoms you are suffering from to your anatomy so we can offer an individualized treatment plan.”
Just like a medical appointment, you can expect an examination of the muscles, ligaments, and flexibility of the pelvis and hip area. You may also require an internal exam.
Rehab can be anywhere from 6-20+ sessions depending on the severity of the problem. Think of this as you would a trip to the gym. You can expect to get exercises to target the muscles (yes this may mean Kegel exercises) along with manual massage and stretching. Most extended health benefits will help cover the cost of a physiotherapist.
Isolated, Alone, Looking for Answers?
With the lack of information and awareness on pelvic dysfunction men dealing with these issues feel isolated and alone. If you or someone you love is suffering in silence, or if you have seen a doctor and haven’t found an answer then an exam from a Physiotherapist with rostering in Pelvic Health is a great place to start.
Book your initial consultation online today with Kathy Trinder, PT at DSANDA.