Understanding Male Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy

by Onward Physical Therapy | June 12, 2024 |
Understanding Male Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy

Pelvic floor physical therapy (PT) is a specialized area within physical therapy that focuses on the muscles, ligaments, and connective tissues of the pelvic floor. These crucial muscles support the bladder, bowel, and sexual organs, playing a significant role in urinary and fecal continence, sexual function, and core stability. Pelvic floor physical therapy aims to address a variety of dysfunctions in these areas, and is available for both men and women.

The Prevalence of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction in Men

Everyone has a pelvic floor, and about one in six men will experience pelvic floor dysfunction at some point in their lives. Signs that you might be experiencing pelvic floor dysfunction include:

  • Weak erections
  • Pain with erection and/or ejaculation
  • Pain with bladder emptying
  • Urinary urgency/frequency 
  • Difficulty emptying the bladder
  • Rectal pain 
  • Constipation and/or pain with bowel movements
  • Genital pain: scrotum, testicular, penile 
  • Urinary and/or bowel leakage 
  • Lower back, lower abdominal, and hip pain 

Common diagnoses that can benefit from pelvic floor physical therapy are chronic prostatitis, constipation, erectile dysfunction, post-prostatectomy, and chronic pelvic pain syndrome. 

What to Expect in Male Pelvic Floor Therapy

Pelvic floor physical therapy appointments always start with a review of your symptoms and goals. Together, we’ll map out an understanding of lifestyle, exercise, and genetic contributors to your current complaints. With these goals in mind, we’ll develop a testing plan and treatment plan to begin to alleviate symptoms rapidly.

The Assessment Process

With your history and goals in mind, we will determine the best tests to identify the best possible treatments to improve your symptoms. Assessments can include both external and internal tests, with participation in these exams being entirely your choice. These tests can provide valuable information to develop an effective treatment plan, however, there is always flexibility in our approach. 

In addition to the pelvic floor itself, we will assess your spine, abdominal wall muscles, and hips. The movement and function of these areas significantly impact your pelvic floor health and can contribute to or refer pain in and around the pelvis. Understanding the interconnectedness of these regions helps us create a more effective and holistic treatment plan.

Treatments for Male Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

The treatment plan we design will be based on the assessment & where we suspect your pain is coming from; so we may treat your spine, hips, abdominal muscles, and/or pelvic floor during a session. If we believe it is true pelvic floor dysfunction, we will then determine whether you are dealing with higher tone or lower tone in those muscles.

Conditions associated with higher tone tend to be associated with those of pain, and the goal is to decrease that tone in and around the pelvis. There are various hands-on techniques, like dry needling for trigger points, myofascial decompression for fascial restrictions, joint manipulation, and soft tissue massage, that we will choose from to relieve your symptoms and improve your mobility within session. Exercise tends to focus on learning to release tension in the pelvis & improve flexibility of those muscles.

Conditions of lower tone tend to show up with aging, after having a hernia repair or a prostate surgery, like post-prostatectomy. If this is the case, the treatment plan will be geared towards increasing that muscle tone by making you stronger.  We will teach you how to correctly contract your deep core muscles, then pair that with different strengthening exercises. We will build an individualized plan tailored to your goals. 

Home Exercise Program  

We’ll work with your time needs to develop a custom plan to address what we found in the assessment. Each session, we will review these and change them based on how you’re progressing.

Ready to Finally Find Relief from Your Male Pelvic Floor Issues?

The Onward team is ready to guide you not only to eliminate your symptoms but make sure you remain resilient & get back to the life you want!