By now there is a fairly well-established understanding in at least parts of the medical community, as to how many aspects of health and well-being are influenced in women by pelvic health, and in particular by good function of the pelvic floor muscles. Urinary incontinence, urinary urgency and frequency, bladder pain, sexual pain and other sexual dysfunctions, pelvic organ prolapse, constipation, pudendal nerve pain, as well as hip, sacroiliac, and lumbar joint problems, are all associated with pelvic floor dysfunction.
The next great frontier, is the recognition that good pelvic floor function is essential for men as well. I am pleased to see that this concept is taking root in the popular health-care media.
When problems develop in the pelvic floor, men can suffer from many problems that parallel those in women. Urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction, both common after prostate surgery, can benefit from (and often be cured by) early intervention with professionally-guided pelvic floor muscle training. Men also often suffer from urinary problems including urgency, frequency, and bladder pain, as well as constipation. This and many other variations of pelvic pain syndromes, including pain stemming from compression or restricted mobility of the pudendal nerve in the pelvis, almost always go hand in hand with pelvic floor dysfunction.
While the above article advocates pelvic floor exercise (kegels) for men who are experiencing urinary or sexual dysfunction. While this idea is sound for many men, as is the case for women, anyone who is experiencing these problems should obtain a proper diagnosis of the problem before undertaking self-treatment. These are musculoskeletal as well as medical problems, and a physical therapist with specialized training in assessment and treatment of the pelvic floor is a vital part of the health care team that should be consulted in order to obtain the best outcomes of rehabilitation.
Helping health-oriented people overcome pelvic health problems, and live the life you love!
Deborah S. Cohen
Specialist Pelvic Health Physical Therapist