As your pelvic floor is hidden away inside your body, it's not always easy to tell if it is healthy and strong. Being aware of the symptoms that suggest weak pelvic muscles will allow you to tackle issues early. Pelvic floor disorders can affect men of any age, so always be wary if you see signs that indicate that your pelvic floor has weakened.
The most common issues that occur as a result of pelvic floor weakness are:
What Are The Symptoms of Male Pelvic Floor Weakness?
Many men suffer from pelvic floor muscle weakness. Like any other muscle in the body, if you don't use your pelvic floor muscles, they will weaken. Some symptoms that suggest your pelvic floor is weak are:
- Stress incontinence - Urinary leakage during activities such as coughing, sneezing, laughing, or exercising.
- Urge incontinence - An urgent need to relieve your bladder that may also result in leakage.
- Bowel incontinence - Accidental leakage of faeces, or difficulty with controlling wind.
- Erectile dysfunction - The inability to gain or maintain an erection.
- Post-micturition - Leakage of a few drops of urine after you've finished passing urine.
- Premature ejaculation - Early ejaculation during sexual activity.
What Causes Male Pelvic Floor Problems?
The male pelvic floor and its muscles are sensitive. It's important that you ensure they remain strong, otherwise a pelvic floor disorder could possibly develop. There are many reasons that can cause pelvic floor problems within males, such as:
- A lack of pelvic floor exercise - Just like any other muscle, if you do not work out your pelvic floor its strength will deteriorate. These essential muscles are not strengthened through traditional exercises, in fact most common exercises actually weaken them. So you need to make Kegels part of your routine.
- Poor physical fitness - A lack of regular exercise, or being overweight, can lead to excess strain on your pelvic floor muscles, as the weight adds unnecessary pressure.
- Constipation - Straining to empty your bowels can, in turn, put a strain on your pelvic floor muscles as your abdomen pushes down.
- Heavy lifting - Straining your body to lift heavy objects can strain your pelvic floor muscles. Ensure that if you do have to lift a large object, you do so correctly.
- A lasting cough - A chronic cough from smoking, bronchitis, or asthma, can stretch your pelvic floor muscles, their nerve supply and supporting tissues.
- Prostate gland surgery - Certain prostate treatments, such as pelvic radiation therapy or prostate removal (radical prostatectomy or transurethral resection of the prostate TURP), can affect the pelvic floor and its delicate nerve supply.
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Pelvic, Obstetric and Gynaecological Physiotherapy (2015) Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises and Advice for Men. Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.
Prostate Cancer UK (2014) Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises [online]. Prostate Cancer UK [viewed 01/08/2018]. Available from https://prostatecanceruk.org/media/975926/pelvic_floor_exercises-ifm.pdf.