Is Pelvic Rehab Just for Women?

Therapist working on floor with patient

Pelvic floor physical therapy has long been identified as “Women’s Health.” But the fact remains that everyone is in possession of a pelvic floor. Men can experience pelvic floor dysfunction or pelvic pain for a multitude of reasons that can successfully be treated with physical therapy.

Male pelvic floor dysfunction has the same definition as female. The pelvic floor is unable to correctly relax and coordinate muscle use, noting issues with urination, bowel movements, pain, or sexual dysfunction. Someone may notice urinary or fecal leakage, fecal smearing, constipation, or urinary retention. Increased pelvic floor muscle tension could be the cause of these issues but so could muscle weakness. An evaluation by a pelvic physical therapist indicates which cause is driving the symptoms and then constructs a treatment program that would be the right fit for the patient.

Female Therapist working on male patient

There are several different dysfunctions that can occur for males due to pelvic issues.

After prostate surgery, males can experience urinary incontinence. The prostate sits very close to the pelvic floor and during surgery can be stretched, cut, or strained. This can result in a longer recovery after surgery, of which incontinence may be a symptom. By strengthening the pelvic floor and increasing body awareness, incontinence can be lessened or fully resolved. Treatment from a pelvic floor therapist can also reduce a patient’s dependency on medicines after surgery.

A male may also notice erectile dysfunction with pelvic floor dysfunction. One reason for erectile dysfunction is an increase in pelvic muscle tension. The tight muscles do not allow the blood to flow correctly limiting the erection. A pelvic physical therapist can help the patient with down training of pelvic muscle tension as well as tension releases for the muscles involved. Keep in mind that erectile dysfunction can have many other medical causes that need to be addressed with a person’s physician or specialist.

Pelvic pain is also something men can experience. Many times they report the feeling of sitting on a golf ball or electric shocks on the inside of their pelvis or into the testicles or penis. Nerves can be entrapped in a tight pelvic floor creating a deep pelvic ache and/or nerve pain. Hip flexor muscles can also be tight impeding movement of nerves and causing referred pain into the testicles and penis. These are all things a skilled pelvic physical therapist can treat internally and externally. Releasing the tight muscles and increasing neural mobility to the entrapped nerves allows for more mobility decreasing the need for surgery. Sometimes no change in pain can mean a need for further diagnostics. For example, the prostate could be inflamed being diagnosed as prostatitis which may be from bacterial infection. This is another good reason to include your physician in deciphering symptoms.

Overall, pelvic physical therapy is not just for women. Men can benefit from seeing a pelvic physical therapist to help with similar symptoms to what women encounter. While the need may arise to expand the treatment team to include a physician, specialist, or even psychologist, seeing a physical therapist provides another excellent avenue to correct symptoms.

If you feel pelvic physical therapy may be the answer for you, give us a call to schedule an appointment. We offer consultations as well if you would like to discuss your symptoms before beginning treatment. No one should have to live with pain, leakage, or sexual dysfunction. Let us help you to get on the road to recovery.

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