Pelvic Floor Muscle Training for Men
Clinical Specialist Men’s Health Physiotherapist Aoife Ni Eochaidh has some vital information for men suffering from an overactive bladder, incontinence, prostatitis and erectile dysfunction. Relief from symptoms is possible by training the muscles in the floor of the pelvis as a preventative or essential therapy.
Pelvic floor muscle exercises are often more associated as a must for women following pregnancy and childbirth, but Aoife strongly advises men to get their pelvic floor muscles in peak condition for good bladder and bowel control, sexual function, alleviate pain in the pelvis and help to prevent pelvic organ prolapse.
Prostatitis can be a pain related condition that can develop gradually or suddenly in men from the late teenage years upwards with sometimes no apparent cause. It can be non-cancer and non-bacterial in nature. Surprisingly too the prostate gland sometimes can be entirely normal (though not always) and in some countries the term prostatitis is not used but instead the condition is labelled Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome. Furthermore, it can be categorised as inflammatory or non-inflammatory. Pain can be mild or severe and it can be worse for the patient when urinating or during sexual intercourse particularly with ejaculation. The pain can be located anywhere in the floor of a man’s pelvis, abdomen, in the scrotum or penis and often is described as being dull or aching. Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles through exercise routines can help to ease the symptoms of prostatitis.
Erectile dysfunction is another very common condition which can present with prostatitis or entirely separately on its own as a result of another health condition such as diabetes,cardiovascular disease, or due to illness, fatigue, stress, or low hormone levels (testosterone). In Ireland, 1 in 4 men experience erectile dysfunction. Symptoms can be varied and can include loss of libido, lack of firmness after penetration and mostly a quick or sooner than desired ejaculation. Approximately between five and eight minutes is often quoted by health professionals as the average lasting time (holding of erection) after penetration and men with premature ejaculation will often last less than two minutes. Surgical intervention perhaps a cancer or another disease process can cause damage to the nerves in the pelvis that are responsible for normal sexual function. Sometimes these nerves will recover but it can take up to twelve months and unfortunately sometimes the unavoidable surgical nerve damage can become permanent. Erectile dysfunction is treatable in many cases with pelvic floor muscle training and it is evidenced by the research of Prof Grace Dorey.
Your pelvic organs, the bladder and bowel, can also present problems alongside prostatitis and erectile dysfunction. Frequent, urgent urination during daytime and sometimes night-time along with dribbling incontinence after bladder emptying which can sometimes be painful can be a problem for some men with prostatitis. The urine flow can be reduced, and it can be uncomfortable to urinate. Bowel symptoms can include pain on emptying, not fully emptying the bowel, an urgent need to empty, needing to empty several times a day, constipation and sometimes soiling or incontinence of stool or gas. Bladder and bowel dysfunction is very treatable with pelvic floor muscle training.
Training the pelvic floor muscles for men is crucial, as a preventative or essential therapy. Pelvic floor exercises and routines to retrain the normal reflexes which control the filling, storing and emptying of the bladder and bowel are needed as well. It is important to get the muscles in the floor of the pelvis in the normal range of function in terms of length, (i.e. not in spasm, not too tight or shortened) strength, timing, co-ordination, and endurance to settle symptoms. Incorporating these pelvic floor exercises into a daily routine can help to bring long term health benefits.
If you are looking for more advice on how you can strengthen your pelvic floor muscles or you would like more information on men's health, speak to one of our expert pharmacy teams.