What are the Pelvic Floor Muscles Responsible for?
The pelvic floor forms a supportive trampoline at the bottom of the pelvis, spanning from the pubic bone in the front to the tailbone in the back, and from one sitting bone to the other. They are essential in supporting your pelvic organs, the bladder and bowel.
Pelvic floor muscles in men are responsible for:
- Contraction of the pelvic floor muscles tightens the openings of the urethra and anus to help delay emptying.
- Relaxation of the pelvic floor muscles permits the passage of urine and stool.
- Important for sexual function in men and partially responsible for erectile function and ejaculation.
Pelvic Floor Dysfunction in Men
Many factors including work and life stress can lead to pelvic floor weakness or tension over time. It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of pelvic floor disorder so that you can get professional help to reverse it and regain your pelvic health:
- Frequent urination during the day and/or night, sometimes with a sensation of not fully emptying
- Starting and stopping several times when urinating
- Decreased urine or ejaculate flow
- Sore or dull ache in the genital or rectum
- Pain with sex and or having a bowel movement
Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy for Men
Pelvic floor isssues in men usually begins after a traumatic event such as injury, surgery, or infection. Gradual onset of pelvic floor problems can also stem from digestive issues, social stress, longstanding pressure from poor posture and repetitive strain from work or sporting activities.
Bladder issues in men are commonly caused by problems with the prostate such as enlargement, inflammation or cancer. The prostate is a walnut-sized organ located between the bladder and the penis and in front of the rectum. The urethra runs through the prostate and connects the bladder to the penis for urine passage. The prostate is responsible for producing the milky fluid that nourishes and protects sperm and makes up the semen. Pelvic floor dysfunction in men can be the result of injury, weight gain, acute infection, diseases, or medical disorders that weaken or tighten the pelvic muscles.
Physiotherapy can help men to strengthen their pelvic floor muscles to better support organs and bodily functions. Pelvic floor physiotherapy can also help to loosen tight pelvic floor muscles providing relief from pain and tension, and promoting normal bowel and sexual functions.
Male Pelvic Pain
Chronic Prostatitis (CP) is also known as Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndromer (CPPS). It is estimated that CP/CPPS has a worldwide prevalence between 2 and 16% and is the most common urologic disease in men below 50 years old. CP is defined as an inflammation of the prostate gland that continues for 3 months or longer with associated pelvic pain and urinary problems. The cause of CP is commonly attributed to a bacterial infection; however, 95% of the cases are nonbacterial and can respond well to pelvic physiotherapy.
Pelvic physiotherapy for CP/CPPS involves a detailed assessment of not just your pelvic floor but also other major factors such as past injuries and stressful events. The treatment plan will be customized to your needs and lifestyle and can include a combination of manual therapy to release pelvic floor tension, neurofunctional acupuncture to activate surrounding muscles, relaxation techniques, targeted pelvic floor exercises to increase strength and flexibility of the muscles down there, and movement-based exercises with elements of Yoga and Pilates to build up surrounding muscles for to better support the pelvic floor.
Prostatectomy & Post-Surgery Rehabilitation
Prostatectomy is a surgery to remove part or the whole prostate. It is usually indicated for prostate cancer or Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), also called enlarged prostate. Prostate enlargement is common in men over the age of 40 and can affect the flow of urine through the urethra, which often result in frequent urination or urge or overflow incontinence.
Urine incontinence is commonly experienced after surgery (or radiation for prostate cancer) and can take a few weeks to a year to resolve. Working with a pelvic physiotherapist before your surgery to strengthen your pelvic floor control can help you manage and improve incontinence post-surgery.
Pre-surgery consultation session (4-6 weeks before surgery) includes a detailed pelvic floor examination, manual therapy to release pre-existing pelvic floor tension, pelvic floor exercises to increase awareness, control, and strength at the pelvic floor, breathing exercises for pain management, and education on strategies to manage incontinence immediately post-op.
Post-surgery consultation session includes a pelvic floor examination to check your current pelvic floor strength and control, manual therapy to release pelvic floor tension and mobilize scar tissue, pelvic floor exercises to regain control and strength, breathing exercises for pain management, and movement-based exercises to re-conditioning the core muscles.
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