Do Men Have Pelvic Floors?
Updated: Jan 24
The short answer: Yes, men do have pelvic floors. The long answer: While men and women both possess these important muscles, the common problems they experience in this area often differ greatly. A lot is written about women and their pelvic floors; men, it's time to give you your just due.
What kind of pelvic floor problems do men experience?
Just like with women, there are many different symptoms that can occur in men when the pelvic floor muscles aren't doing their job correctly. For our purposes here, we are going to touch on two of the most common male pelvic floor problems which can often be improved with pelvic floor physical therapy: prostate-related urinary symptoms, and pelvic pain/back pain.
Prostate-related Bladder Symptoms
Whether you have leakage following prostate surgery, urinary urgency and frequency from an enlarged prostate, or just don't feel like your core is your powerhouse anymore, pelvic physical therapy may be your ticket to getting back in the game.
Pelvic floor muscles take a hit after prostate surgery; learning how to strengthen those muscles and coordinate them better with the rest of your core during exercise or other activities can accelerate your return to continence, and help you get back to doing what you love faster. In fact, according to a study by Milios JE et. al., starting pelvic floor muscle training BEFORE prostate surgery significantly reduced post-prostatectomy leakage and improved quality of life measures. If you've already had surgery, don't fret! There are studies showing that starting exercises after prostate surgery can help as well, such as this review by Marwan A. et. al.
If an enlarged prostate is what's causing you problems, then the urinary urgency, frequency, and waking up at night that frequently accompany an enlarged prostate can often be improved with physical therapy techniques. Exercise, lifestyle and dietary changes can make a big difference in symptoms. In fact, according to this newsletter by Harvard Medical School, regular physical activity may actually help prevent some prostate disorders and improve prostate health.
Pelvic Pain with or without Back Pain
Pain anywhere in the pelvis can often times be related to too much tension in the pelvic floor and related muscles, and can respond well to pelvic floor physical therapy. With the low back being a close neighbor to the pelvis, back pain commonly accompanies pelvic pain. Even the hips and core can get into the game. Physical therapists are uniquely positioned to analyze and tease out all these different factors that lead to an increase in the pelvic floor muscle tension that can result in back pain and pelvic pain.
The prostate often takes the blame for pelvic pain in men, as evidenced by one of its common names: chronic non-bacterial prostatitis. And for a small percentage of individuals, this can be accurate. However, for up to 90% of men with pelvic pain, there is no evidence of infection in the prostate. If you and your physician determine that your pain is muscular, then pelvic physical therapy may help you abolish that pelvic and back pain and get you back on track.
Don't let these distressing, and at times debilitating, symptoms get the best of you—take action! There are concrete steps you can take to address them, and PT can help. If you, or a man in your life, suffers from prostate-related bladder symptoms or pelvic pain, consider setting up a FREE 15-minute consultation to see if pelvic physical therapy is right for you. Often simple strategies and exercises can help, so you can take back control and get back to doing what you love!