The male pelvic floor – yes guys, you have one too!
What is the male pelvic floor?
The pelvic floor muscles extend like a hammock from the tailbone at the back, to the pubic bone in front. A man's pelvic floor muscles support his bladder and bowel. The urine tube and the back passage all pass through the pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic floor helps with bladder and bowel control and is important for sexual function.
Which guys need to do pelvic floor strengthening exercises?
All men need healthy pelvic floor muscles, but some may have weak muscles. They are those who are:
- suffering of ( or having survived) prostate cancer
- recovering from surgery for bladder or bowel problems
- often heavy lifting
- suffering with coughing that goes on for a long time (such as smoker's cough, bronchitis or asthma)
- urinary incontinent e.g. men who wet themselves when they cough, sneeze or are active
- bowel incontinent
- experiencing dribbling after urination
- experiencing erectile dysfunction.
What about if his pelvic floor muscles are too tight?
Some men experience chronic pelvic pain, such as pain with erections. This can be because the pelvic floor muscles are too tight or in spasm. When the muscles stay tight they become painful. In this case, men should be doing more relaxation and 'down-training' ( or letting go) of the pelvic floor muscles, as squeezing these muscles will make them tighter, and therefore more painful. Tight pelvic floor muscles are also common men with pudendal neuralgia (irritation of the nerves of the pelvic floor region), urgency (needing to urinate more frequently than what is considered usual, or with certain triggers) and constipation.
How can men find out which exercises he should be doing?
Real-time ultrasound by a trained men's health physiotherapist can help visualize the muscles. This method of ultrasounding allows for a clear picture on a monitor screen of how the pelvic floor muscles are contracting (and in 'real time'), much like watching the black and white pictures of a pre-natal baby scan.The physiotherapist can then design an exercise program for you based on your needs.
If you are at all worried about the function of your privates 'down there', as physios at The Fix Program we would be happy (and very capable) to speak with you privately about your symptoms. If needed, we can refer you to a men's health physiotherapist for an assessment and treatment plan.
Afterall, bladder and bowel problems, no matter how small, are not normal. Don't put up with it. Tell someone who cares and seek help.