Pelvic floor physiotherapy is usually prescribed for women who, after pregnancy, have a tendency to leak urine, however, there’s a misconception that pelvic floor physiotherapy is EXCLUSIVELY for women when that is not the case.
Whether it be incontinence after prostate surgery or chronic pelvic pain, men can benefit from physiotherapy specific to the pelvic floor muscles.
What is the pelvic floor?
The pelvic floor is comprised of muscles and connective tissue that support abdominal organs, control the bowels and bladder and are involved in sexual function.
What pelvic-related problems are typical for men?
The two main symptoms that can be alleviated by pelvic floor physiotherapy are chronic pelvic pain and incontinence.
Incontinence, which is the inability to control urination, typically stems from problems with a man’s prostate gland. An enlarged prostate, which becomes more and more common as you age, can grow large enough that it pinches the urethra, which makes it more difficult for the bladder to empty urine, causing the bladder muscles to thicken and become overactive. The result: leaking urine.
Men who have had surgery for prostate cancer have incontinence, at least temporarily, after their surgery. Some men who receive radiation therapy for prostate cancer can also experience incontinence. Luckily, recovery of continence post prostatectomy is made much shorter when men participate in a pelvic floor muscle retraining program with a physiotherapist.
Another common pelvic problem for men is chronic, or ongoing, pelvic pain. Pelvic pain can present from the bladder, rectum or prostate. Pain causes muscles to tighten, like a constant cramp, and this becomes an uncomfortable cycle: pain leads to muscle tension, and muscle tension leads to pain.
How will Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy Help Me?
Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy can help men to understand how to lengthen the pelvic floor and decrease pain. Physiotherapists also provide education and tips on managing urgency, which can be a major symptom that exists with pelvic pain.
What does Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy Involve?
There are many aspects to pelvic floor rehab:
1. Education: The therapist provides basic education about pelvic floor function, an often mysterious part of the anatomy.
2. Symptom Analysis: On the first visit, the physiotherapist will want to know about:
· pain symptoms
· what urination is like
· what bowel movements are like
· what sexual activity is like
3. Physical Exam: The therapist will check strength, flexibility and range of motion in the back, pelvis and hips.
4. Internal Exam: Often, the therapist will do a rectal exam, with a gloved finger, to feel whether the muscles are weak or in spasm, or have some other dysfunction.
5. Exercises targeting the right muscles:
For incontinence, pelvic floor rehab aims to strengthen the muscles controlling urination.
For pelvic pain, the aim is coaxing tight muscles to relax.
Both will involve exercises that, with practice, will retrain pelvic floor muscles to function properly.
Do you or a man you know suffer from Incontinence or Chronic Pelvic Pain? Contact Blueberry Therapy for a consult today.