The Importance of Pelvic Floor Health for Men and Women

You’ve probably heard of the pelvic floor muscles as a women’s health concern. But did you know that men have pelvic floor muscles, too? I’m Lauren Masi, Doctor of Physical Therapy, and board-certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist. I’m also the owner and Clinical Services Director of Bay Area Physical Therapy and Lafayette Physical Therapy. Today, I’m going to talk about the importance of pelvic floor health for men and women.

Both Men and Women Have Pelvic Floors

For many years, pelvic floor health was something that was believed to only affect women, and actually, our own governing body referred to it only as “women’s health.” In recent years, that has changed and become more of an awareness of pelvic health in general. 

Obviously, we all have pelvises. Men can suffer from these same pelvic floor dysfunctions, but with subtle differences. However, the treatment can often be very similar, and physical therapists can be specially trained to address these issues.

What Causes Pelvic Floor Dysfunctions?

Pelvic floor dysfunctions can be due to several issues:  

  • Muscle weakness
  • Muscle tightness
  • Scar tissue

And on that last point, scar tissue from abdominal surgeries, prostatectomies, hysterectomies, and C-sections can all lead to pelvic floor dysfunctions. For more information on scars, please see our prior blog post on how scar tissue impacts healing and movement.

What Are the Common Symptoms of Pelvic Floor Dysfunctions?

Pelvic floor dysfunctions can cause many different symptoms, including: 

  • Incontinence of your bowel or bladder
  • Pain referred to the lower abdomen, hip, and/or back
  • Organ prolapse, where internal organs can come out of the vagina or anus
  • Constipation
  • Pain with intercourse

An Important Note About Incontinence

As I mentioned earlier, scars and adhesions following some surgeries can be one of the most common reasons that women and men are coming to us. For men, those prostatectomies can lead to leakage. And it’s a sensitive subject because no one wants to admit it to anyone. Sometimes they don’t even tell their doctor that they’re suffering from these symptoms. 

So, this is one of the most underdiagnosed, underutilized services that we have is to help incontinence for both men and women. If you’re experiencing this, please don’t be afraid to reach out to us for help—it is a common problem, and we have the tools to help you with it.

How We Treat Pelvic Floor Dysfunctions

At Bay Area Physical Therapy, we primarily focus on external pelvic floor therapy, where treatments can include stretching, strengthening, and neuromotor re-education of the pelvic floor, core, and hip muscles. But if needed, we can help refer you to an internal physical therapist for some conditions we might not be able to address.

 If you need more information to see if we can help you with your pelvic floor dysfunction, please call our front desk at (925) 284-3840 to set up a complimentary consultation or evaluation today. And for pregnant or soon to be pregnant women, if you’d like more information on the pelvic floor, please reference our earlier blog post, “How Pregnancy Affects Your Body (and How PT Can Help).”

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