About one in three older men experience lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS)
The symptoms include:
- Urgency, nocturia (going more than once a night), or frequency
- Voiding problems including straining to urinate, a long time starting, a weak urine stream, or after-dribble).
Until now, it has been thought that these symptoms were mainly due to Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) - the prostate gland becoming enlarged. The gland enlarges and obstructs the flow of urine as it passes through the urethra.
However there is an interesting study by Dutch researchers who suspected pelvic muscle dysfunction or pelvic floor muscle weakness might also be a contributing factor to the LUTS symptoms.
The study published in the International Journal of Urology in March 2017, found that pelvic floor muscle training provided men the same benefits as the alpha-blocker drug, Flomax Relief (tamsulosin), a first-line treatment for LUTS.
The drug works by relaxing the muscles around the prostate and relieving pressure on the urethra, Flomax Relief does not shrink the size of the prostate. However, some users have reported the following side-effects to Flomax:
- Low blood pressure
- Ejaculatory dysfunction, reduced sperm count
- Loss of libido
- Priapism (painful long-lasting erection over 4 hours)
In the study, 41 men aged 51-82 years with moderate to severe LUTS were divided into two groups; the first receiving Flomax for 90 days, and the second, pelvic floor muscle training for the same period. The second group also received counselling on nutrition and urination habits. After 90 days, both groups had reduced their prostate symptom scores, and both had shown an improvement in a LUTS-specific quality of life index. However, the men who had received the pelvic floor muscle training had a better perception of improvement compared with those on the medication.
Study authors said that, although pelvic floor muscle training had a positive effect on symptoms comparable to that of Flomax, more studies with larger groups, and the inclusion of a control group, were needed to further confirm their results.
Great to read what we have suspected for a long time, that a naturally strong, toned, healthy pelvic floor can directly address the symptoms of LUTS, BPH and an enlarged prostate, as well men’s bladder problems such as:
- Urinary incontinence - that’s leaking urine, maybe just a few drops, or a steady flow throughout the day.
- Stress incontinence - leaking urine when you go to sit down or stand up, cough, sneeze or bend forwards.
- Urge incontinence - a sudden urge to urinate, sometimes leaking before reaching the toilet.
- Frequency incontinence - needing to urinate more often than usual.
- Nocturia – going to the toilet more than once in a night.
- Dribbling urine after you finish urinating
- Leaking a little urine when you get sexually aroused
Other benefits, even less widely reported from a strong pelvic floor include stronger erections as well as help with bowel problems, faecal incontinence and uncontrollable wind.