Do Men Experience Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?
Do men experience pelvic floor dysfunction? Pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) affects both men and women, and can cause urinary/fecal incontinence, pelvic pain, and sexual dysfunction.
While PFD is commonly associated with women, it occurs in 16% of men. It is often overlooked and underdiagnosed, taking up to 86 months for a formal diagnosis (1). In this blog post, we will discuss the common types of male pelvic floor dysfunction and how Snow Ghost Physical Therapy can help.
Urinary incontinence: Urinary incontinence can occur due to weak pelvic floor muscles, dietary irritants, or an overactive bladder. Men who have gone through prostate surgery or radiation therapy for prostate cancer are at a higher risk of developing incontinence. Physical therapy (PT) can help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and improve bladder control using techniques such as biofeedback, electrical stimulation, and exercises to improve the function of the pelvic floor muscles.
Erectile dysfunction: Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection for sexual intercourse. ED can occur due to several factors, including pelvic floor muscle dysfunction, scar tissue, or lifestyle factors. PT can utilize a variety of techniques to help improve blood flow to the penis with targeted exercise, mobilization of restricted musculature/scar tissue, and stretching.
Chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome: Chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS) is a condition that causes pain and discomfort in the pelvic area. The exact cause of CP/CPPS is unknown but can be related to pelvic floor muscle dysfunction. PT can help reduce pain and discomfort in the pelvic area, improve pelvic floor muscle function, and decrease inflammation. A PT may use techniques such as trigger point release, myofascial release, and stretching to alleviate pelvic floor muscle tension and pain.
Hemorrhoids: While hemorrhoids are not always a sign of pelvic floor dysfunction, they can be associated with it. The pelvic floor muscles support the rectum and anus, and weakness or dysfunction in these muscles can lead to increased pressure on the veins in the rectal area. This pressure can cause hemorrhoids, which are swollen and inflamed veins in the anus and lower rectum. However, not all cases of hemorrhoids are related to pelvic floor dysfunction, and other factors such as constipation, diarrhea, and straining during bowel movements can also contribute to their development. A pelvic floor physical therapist can help make recommendations to decrease straining, manage lifestyle factors, and address weakness or a lack of coordination in pelvic floor muscles to reduce pain and discomfort.
Fecal incontinence: Fecal incontinence can occur due to weak pelvic floor muscles or damage to the nerves within the pelvis. Men who have undergone surgery for rectal cancer or radiation therapy for prostate cancer are at a higher risk of developing fecal incontinence. PT can help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, improve bowel control, and reduce the risk of fecal incontinence. A PT may use techniques such as biofeedback, electrical stimulation, bowel schedules, and exercises to help address this.
In conclusion, male pelvic floor dysfunction is more common than you may think. Physical therapy can help improve pelvic floor muscle function, reduce pain and discomfort, and improve urinary, sexual, and bowel function. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional and consider PT as part of your treatment plan. Further questions? Schedule an Initial evaluation or consult with Sierra to see how we may be able to help improve your quality of life!