Men’s Health Physiotherapy
Men’s Health is an umbrella term that relates to the problems or pains in the pelvis. These can include pain emanating from structures inside the pelvic gridle: CPP (Chronic pelvic pain) or prostatitis, pain from the pudendal nerve (pudendal neuralgia), dysfunction of the male pelvic floor, the function or dysfunction of the male sexual organs and problems associated with systems used for toileting. For most men, well, probably about half of you over 35, you don’t even think about how this area functions – you just know it does!
Most guys don’t even think they have a pelvic floor. You definitely have! Try clearing your throat! Do you feel a sensation in the bit between your legs? Well, that is your pelvic floor region. Now try lifting your ‘nuts into your guts’ – just the nuts, don’t suck in the whole abdomen. Imagine walking into the sea. What’s the first thing you suck back in? This is the pelvic floor contracting. Anatomically the female and the male pelvis, aside from the obvious, share similarities with regard to muscular arrangement. Fortunately, guys have less holes and thus they are a little more stable. Well, you should be.
Why do we need to talk about Mens Health? Unfortunately, the reality is that 1/3rd of men over the age of 40 suffer from some form of urinary dysfunction. This could be related to the prostate or post-prostate surgery, or may be related to other sources of pain or changes in muscles function. This means that having a pee can become problematic with a range of possible symptoms manifesting in leakage, incontinence, urgency or the inability to pass water. As we age this appears to become more of an issue. Another prominent problem in the pelvic health of a man is Erectile Dysfunction (ED). Not something we freely talk about. What about premature ejaculation? pain during or after sex? It happens and is a real concern for some guys and can have major effects on self esteem and confidence.
These are all problems that can be assessed and in the vast majority of cases they can be cured. Often with some simple changes to lifestyle and exercise.
As a society we have come on leaps and bounds with our comfort in talking about Women’s health problems, but we have yet to even begin talking about Mens Health.
In this YouTube video Elaine Miller does a hilariously sobering talk about Women’s, and Men’s, Health. She highlights the frieghtening financial implications of not addressing Women’s and Men’s health issues. The UK government (Gu)estimates it to cost the taxpayer some £200+ million a year. In Australia, with a population a ¼ of that in the UK, the cost is considered to be in the region of $84 Billion. The higher cost in the Australian governments estimation reflects an acknowledgment of the knock on effect relating to co-morbid factors for people having pelvic health issues. They will invariably abstain from activity, social events and even suffer depression. This can lead to weight gain, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
This is our opportunity to reach out, educate people and help those who feel alone or who are in pain.
Prostate cancer is a well-known and talked about disease and affects most guys, if they live a long enough life! The prostate sits around the urethra, under the bladder. It has an important function in the supply of seminal fluid to carry male sperm out of the urethra. However, as we age this increases in size and may become cancerous. An increase in size will essentially squeeze the urethra meaning the bladder could have problems emptying thus increasing the frequency of going for a pee.
If you are having trouble then SEE YOUR GP!
In patients who have had their prostate removed nerve damage is a possible consequence. Post-surgical complications can include incontinence, pain and erectile dysfunction. Post-surgical and even pre-surgical (before an operation) pelvic floor exercises can help by ensuring appropriate muscle activation is developed and mastered.
Pelvic floor Physiotherapy can really help with instruction and retraining of the muscles and is now becoming a more widely recognised care pathway for patients undergoing prostate surgery.
In the context of the whole pelvic floor and not just the prostate, any prolonged contraction of a muscle could cause pain and therefore teaching the pelvic muscles how to relax and contract is vitally important. Just like the shoulder and lower back, the pelvis can be subjected to poorly coordinated muscular activation. Again, physiotherapy is highly effective for this.
If you are suffering from symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction, have undergone prostate surgery and still have problems, or you suffer from pelvic pain then it is best to get in touch with your GP to get things checked over.
At Vital Core our Pelvic Floor physiotherapists can help men who suffer from pelvic pain, prostatitis, post prostate surgery and other forms of pelvic health dysfunction. We will work with the man to determine exactly what is happening and how it is affecting them. Then together both physio and patient will develop a management plan to get him back into life without dysfunction.
Call 08 8331 0552 to make and appointment or book online.