MEN’S PELVIC HEALTH
Tid Bits of Info
- Men suffer from PFD as often as women.
- Many symptoms of PFD can be resolved with simple life style changes.
- Treatment for PFD addresses the core, low back, hips and lower extremities if necessary.
- Many of the PFD symptoms can be greatly reduced within a few treatment sessions.
- Specially trained Physical Therapists can successfully treat most symptoms / conditions related to PFD.
For men suffering from pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) there is hope. Many times the discussion of pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) does not include men’s issues. The embarrassment of discussing their problems causes many men to suffer with undiagnosed, misdiagnosed or untreated conditions. Physical therapists that are specially trained to treat these conditions can produce life-changing results and reduce or resolve many of the symptoms associated with PFD.
Symptoms of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
PFD in men can have multiple symptoms. One or several symptoms can affect men throughout their lives. Aging often exaggerates the problems. If you or someone you know is suffering from any of the following conditions or experiencing the symptoms associated with these conditions, seek medical help from a specially trained physical therapist.
- Chronic constipation
- Urine or fecal leakage
- Erectile dysfunction
- Painful intercourse
- Pelvic or scrotum pain
- Pudendal nerve entrapment
- Urinary urgency/frequency
- Painful scars or adhesions
- Coccyx (tailbone) pain
- Abdominal, hip or groin pain
Many of these conditions can be directly related to the dysfunction of the muscle structure of the pelvic floor.
The pelvic floor is made of a group muscles, tendons and ligaments that act like a hammock and help to hold the organs: bladder, uterus (women), prostate (men) and rectum (the distal end of the large intestine that stores solid waste). These muscles contract and relax in conjunction with the abdominal muscles to help to control the functions of bowel and bladder. When the coordination between contracting and relaxing does not occur correctly, there is a malfunction in the system and the person will suffer from PFD. The muscles can be too weak to perform their job and or in spasm. There can be hypo or hyper-sensitivity to different structures in the pelvic region that leads to the dysfunction.
Treating Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
In order to effectively treat PFD, the Physical Therapist will assess the problem with a thorough and extensive initial evaluation that includes a very detailed history. Many PFD symptoms can be greatly reduced or resolved by making life changes in various areas such as diet, exercise, posture and activity modification. The physical therapist that is specially trained in treating PFD, will perform a physical examination that will include a manual exam of the pelvic floor muscles. They will use special electronic instruments that record the amount of muscle activity and force of the contraction that those muscles can generate. Many muscles are tight or in spasm and cannot generate the amount of force needed to perform their “job.”
Treatment of PFD in men is performed in private, one-on-one encounters. The physical therapist may perform hands on techniques that are designed to stimulate the muscles or get them to relax. There will be specific exercises performed while in therapy and the patient will be asked to continue these exercises at home. Many of the problems encountered with PFD are a matter of re-training the musculature to perform correctly. The exercise routine will address weaknesses or muscle deficiencies in all areas that might affect the pelvic floor. This will include the lumbar spine, sacroiliac joint, hips and abdominal muscles. All of these can have a direct or indirect positive or negative affect on the pelvic floor.
Treatment for PFD in men is highly successful if the symptoms are brought to the attention of the proper healthcare professional and the patient is willing to pursue it. Living with these symptoms can be painful, embarrassing and alter one’s lifestyle drastically. There are physical therapists that have trained to develop the skills needed to address the symptoms of PFD. Seek out one of these healthcare professionals if you are experiencing any of the conditions mentioned in this blog. With their help and training, you can return to a symptom free life.