A leading physiotherapist from New Victoria Hospital has observed a concerning surge in male patients seeking treatment for pelvic floor issues. With an increase of around 15%, the independent Hospital based in Surrey addresses this often-overlooked aspect of men’s health, aiming to raise awareness about its significance and the need for proactive care.
Pelvic floor issues among men have historically been addressed less often than other conditions, yet they can significantly impact quality of life. Symptoms such as urinary and/or bowel incontinence, erectile dysfunction, pelvic pain, and discomfort are increasingly being reported among male patients.
Physiotherapist Miss Jess Li, who has treated thousands of patients for pelvic floor issues, sheds light on the underlying causes, stating, “Factors contributing to this issue in men can vary widely, encompassing obesity, chronic constipation, prolonged heavy lifting, surgeries such as prostatectomy and low anterior resection, ageing, and even certain sports injuries.”
She further emphasises, “These symptoms, often mistakenly attributed to ageing or dismissed as insignificant, can have a profound effect on a man’s daily life and mental well-being.”
The Male Pelvic Floor Explained
The male pelvic floor refers to a group of muscles, ligaments, and connective tissues located at the base of the pelvis. “These structures support the pelvic organs, including the bladder, rectum, and in men, the prostate,” says Jess.
“The male pelvic floor plays a major role in various bodily functions such as urinary and faecal continence, sexual function, and providing support for the pelvic organs.”
Symptoms of a weak pelvic floor in men can manifest in various ways, impacting urinary, bowel, and sexual functions. “Leakage or involuntary loss of urine, especially during activities like coughing, sneezing, or exercise, can indicate a weakened pelvic floor,” Jess explains. “It might also involve a frequent urge to urinate or difficulty in fully emptying the bladder.”
Erectile dysfunction can also be a sign. “Weak pelvic floor muscles might contribute to difficulties in achieving or maintaining an erection. This can affect sexual performance and satisfaction,” adds Jess. “Men should also look out for faecal incontinence and discomfort or pain in the pelvic area, genitals, or lower abdomen.”
Effective treatment and management: the key to promoting quality of life
Jess emphasises the importance of early intervention and education when it comes to pelvic floor health for men.
“There are lots of interventions that can effectively address these concerns,” she assures.
“As a pelvic floor physiotherapist, I conduct a comprehensive evaluation with patients to assess pelvic floor muscle function. Based on this assessment, I developed a treatment plan with exercises to strengthen or relax specific pelvic floor muscles.
“A big part of the treatment plan is teaching patients various exercises, such as pelvic floor exercises and Kegel exercises targeting the pelvic floor muscles, to improve strength, coordination, and endurance. There may also be lifestyle modifications and behavioural strategies to manage symptoms.”
Jess says that early physiotherapy intervention is key to promoting quality of life for men who suffer from urinary or bowel dysfunction.
She urges, “It’s essential for men to recognise the significance of pelvic floor health and seek timely guidance. With the right support and interventions, these issues can often be effectively managed or even resolved. We want to ensure that men feel comfortable and empowered to seek help.”
More information on New Victoria Hospital can be found here.