Men’s Pelvic Health and Physiotherapy (Guest Blog)
Despite not wanting to acknowledge it, thousands of Irish men are experiencing incontinence (urine or faeces), frequency and urgency voiding, constipation, pelvic pain or erectile dysfunction. This is usually a side effect of cancer surgery or treatment. Unfortunately, many males are suffering in silence and becoming socially isolated as a result, unaware that Men’s Health Physiotherapists (MHPT) offer treatments that can help.
So what can you do to get started now?
A strong pelvic floor with a good blood supply reduces or stops leakage and helps maintain a good quality erection but it requires training. To practice this, stand in front of a mirror and observe. In general, men squeeze their bottom muscles and focus on the back passage, but the focus needs to be at the front. Think “nuts to guts” or “stopping urine in mid–flow” and look for a lift of the scrotum and retraction of the penis. This is a correct pelvic floor contraction.
Aim to do 6 sets of quick maximal contractions plus 6 sets of gentle squeezes with a 3-5 sec hold in standing each day. Everyone’s endurance varies so progress to longer holds as able. If in doubt, talk to a Men’s Health Physiotherapist.
***Research has shown, that if pelvic floor training has commenced prior to prostate removal, the man becomes drier sooner afterwards so get started now if this is appropriate to you. But it’s never too late to start, regardless of how long these problems have been an issue for.
Here are some other lifestyle tweaks that make a huge difference:
- Drink 1.5 – 2 litres of water/day. Don’t reduce fluids in the hope of minimising leakage.
- Reduce bladder irritants (caffeine, fizzy drinks and alcohol). Beer is the most irritant to the bladder with clear spirits the least irritant.
- Eat well to avoid constipation
- Relaxation/meditation can reduce pain dramatically
- Keep active to reduce fatigue, improve energy and general physical and mental health.
- And seek help sooner rather than later for any of the above issues
Acknowledgements to Jo Milios and Gerard Greene.
About the Author: Suzanne Carney is a Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist in Women’s, Men’s and Pelvic Health. She has Masters level training in this area and years of experience in working with this subset from her time in Perth, Australia. Since returning to Ireland in 2017, she works part-time in Mayo University Hospital and has recently established her own pelvic health physiotherapy practice, called Anatomy Physiotherapy, in Claremorris, Co. Mayo. For further information, you can contact Suzanne at www.anatomyphysiotherapy.ie and https://www.facebook.com/anatomyphysiotherapy1/