The Link Between Pelvic Floor Dysfunction & Men's Sexual Health
No one likes talking about their nether regions, especially when it involves sexual dysfunction and pain. Yet, pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) is much more common than individuals think. In fact, an astounding one in five people will suffer from a pelvic floor disorder during their lifetime. And unfortunately, men are less likely to talk about it, notably when relating to penile/testicular pain, erectile dysfunction, incontinence, and constipation. The good news is that Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy (PFPT) can help! According to a 2016 review published in the International Society for Sexual Medicine where evidence suggested a close relationship between the pelvic floor and male sexual dysfunction, Pelvic Floor Therapy was shown to be a beneficial form of treatment in reversing PFD. The drawback here is that this treatment becomes less accessible to patients when both physicians are unaware of the benefits of Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy and individuals are less likely to talk about their symptoms. When paired with a common misdiagnosis of prostatitis followed by an ineffective treatment plan, the result can have a harrowing emotional and physical effect on those suffering. ProTouch Physical Therapy is on a mission to change that by bringing awareness to the forefront and answering some of the most prevailing questions surrounding this taboo subject.
Q: Is chronic pelvic pain (CPPS) always due to prostatitis?
A: Absolutely not; this is probably one of the biggest misconceptions surrounding pelvic floor dysfunction in men. Chronic pelvic pain is mainly due to a tight pelvic floor that restricts blood flow and nerve supply. Be wary of tightness and pain in the lower back as this can contribute to a tight pelvic floor.
Q: What causes erectile dysfunction (ED) & can it be reversed?
A: There are lots of causes for ED from hormonal imbalances to a decreased blood supply to the area. If the causes of ED are due to decreased blood supply, increased muscle tone restricting nutrients to the muscles, or poor body mechanics, then a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist can help to reverse the condition. Activities that contribute the most to ED are poor posture while standing, lifting heavy objects, constant butt clenching, prolonged sitting, and long-distance cycling/running.
Q: What causes testicular pain and pain to the tip of the penis?
A: The same activities that can lead to ED can also lead to pain in these areas. Anatomically, testicular pain can be caused by spasms in the cremaster muscles originating in the obliques or restriction of the spermatic cord. Pain at the tip of the penis is mainly caused by anterior levator ani muscle spasms or tightness and trigger points in the rectus abdominal muscle.
Q: What causes penile pain after ejaculation?
A: Penile pain after ejaculation is mainly caused by pelvic floor muscle spasms. When these spasms are unable to relax themselves, they begin to radiate pain into the shaft of the penis following the nerve pathways.
Q: Can Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy treat pain associated with intercourse?
A: Absolutely! This is actually one of the most common forms of PFD that we treat, focusing on motor control, endurance, and contraction/relaxation of the pelvic floor muscles.
Q: Can pain while sitting be a form of pelvic floor dysfunction?
A: Pain while sitting, both immediate and accumulative, is 100% pelvic floor dysfunction. The pain is caused when the pelvic floor muscles go into a spasm from the downward body pressure against a hard surface.
Q: How can a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist (PFPT) treat coccyx (tailbone) pain?
A: A PFPT will first assess what is causing the pull on the coccyx bone. After determining the cause, a PFPT can release the surrounding muscles and ligaments that cause “the pull” along with mobilizing the sacrum, coccyx, lumbar spine, and ultimately restoring movement in the surrounding joints.
Q: Is constipation and hemorrhoids part of PFD?
A: Yes. Both symptoms can accompany PFD. Constipation can be caused by a tight pelvic floor and slow digestion. Hemorrhoids can be caused by poor motor control. A PFPT can release the tightness and teach the patient how to improve the motor control of the muscles in order to reestablish proper function.
Q: When should someone see a PFPT for PFD?
A: We suggest that anyone who thinks they might be experiencing PFD take a look at our website (ProTouchPT.com) under “pelvic floor” to see if they can narrow down their symptoms through our extensive list. If any of the symptoms/diagnoses resonate, then they can call our office at (908) 325-6556 to schedule an evaluation.
ProTouch Physical Therapy in Cranford, NJ is one of the top Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy clinics treating Men’s sexual health in the state. More for information or to schedule an appointment with one of ProTouch’s highly skilled Pelvic Floor PTs, call (908) 325-6556. Subscribe to our newsletter through ProTouchPT.com and follow us on Facebook and Instagram @ProTouchPT.