More often than not, you hear about women needing to strengthen their pelvic floor muscles to live a happier life. Men, however, face many of the same symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction that women do. Even so, can men benefit from pelvic floor physical therapy?
What is the Pelvic Floor?
The pelvic floor, in men and in women, looks similar to a hammock. It stretches from the tailbone to the hips in both genders and supports the bladder, bowels, and reproductive organs. There are no major differences in the function or general shape of the pelvic floor, regardless of a person’s gender.
Symptoms of Pelvic Floor Weakness in Men
That said, men – like women – can frequently forget to exercise their pelvic floor muscles. Other times, men don’t know that they need to exercise their pelvic floor muscles until something begins to go wrong. If you think that your pelvic floor muscles may be weaker than they should be, keep an eye out for some of the following symptoms:
- Incontinence – If you find that you can’t control your bladder or have even minor leakage, you may be experiencing incontinence. Urinary leaks occur commonly after immediately after emptying the bladder, changing positions, with a strong urge to go or when laughing, sneezing, exercising, coughing, or otherwise engaging your body.
- Overactive Bladder – Do you frequently have to make trips to the bathroom, even when you haven’t had a lot to drink? Do you find you are waking up multiple times at night to use the restroom? An overactive bladder can be a sign of a weak set of pelvic floor muscles.
- Bowel Incontinence – For some people, the first sign that bowel incontinence could be an issue is having difficulty holding back gas. Laughing, sneezing, exercising, coughing, or other forms of movement may also cause you to pass gas or have a bit of stool leakage. If this is the case, you’re experiencing early indications of bowel incontinence and will want to schedule an appointment with a medical professional right away.
- Impaired Sexual Function – The consistent inability to engage in sexual intercourse or perform optimally may be a sign of weak pelvic floor muscles as these muscles play a significant function in arousal and ejaculation.
- Pain – Although not always due to pelvic floor weakness, in some cases, pain in the pelvic region can be an indication that pelvic floor strengthening is appropriate.
Make sure to consult with a pelvic health expert before initiating strengthening to avoid making symptoms worse. It’s worth noting that prostate surgery can result in the weakening of the pelvic floor and the start of many of the aforementioned symptoms.
How Can Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy Help Men?
If you’ve noticed that you experience several of the symptoms of weak pelvic floor muscles, then going to physical therapy may help you regain the strength you need to live a normal life. A physical therapist will be able to prescribe a workout regime for your pelvic muscles that is suited for your unique situation.
For example, while Kegel exercises may work for some men, they may prove too painful to perform for others. A physical therapist will be able to work with you to determine what, specifically, is contributing to your pelvic floor weakness and how to treat that lack of support.
There’s nothing wrong with seeking out professional help in your time of need. If you feel as though your pelvic floor muscles would benefit from pelvic floor muscle training, talk with your general practitioner or schedule an appointment with your local physical therapist ASAP.
For an initial consultation and recommendations, contact Provenance Rehabilitation today.