Pelvic Pain in males is often misdiagnosed as Prostatitis, when it may actually be a muscular condition. In honor of Men’s Health Month, I would like to address this misconception so that the men in our lives who are suffering from pain can receive the best care quickly and not be referred to multiple healthcare providers who ultimately may have the following words to say,
“All of your test results were negative, so there really isn’t much we can do for you.”
Just because urine and blood tests are negative, doesn’t mean that we, as healthcare providers, can wash our hands of trying to determine the cause of someone’s pain. As physical therapists, our expertise lies in the evaluation and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions. Therefore, if an individual is having pain, and medical tests do not show any abnormalities, the culprit may be a muscular or joint dysfunction, and it is our job to determine this. We at Foundational Concepts specialize in treating pelvic dysfunction and other challenging pain conditions in both female and male patients. Many people don’t realize that men can experience pelvic dysfunction, and it is this misconception that contributes to the delayed diagnosis and treatment of these patients.
As women, we’re used to dealing with occasional discomfort in our private areas. Most of us have experienced a bladder infection, a yeast infection or even a painful period at some point in our life. Others have even had to face chronic pelvic pain or pain with intercourse (dyspareunia). Fortunately, many women see a healthcare provider on an annual basis and have the resources to address these conditions. However, most men do not go to the doctor as much, and therefore are not aware of the services that exist for pelvic pain.
Oftentimes, when a man has pelvic pain he will report pain between his testicles and his anus. This sensation may intensify with sitting, intercourse, urination or a bowel movement. The individual may notice that he is urinating more frequently, having increased “urgency” or even an inability to fully empty his bladder. A physician will usually evaluate this type of condition with a rectal exam. If this exam is painful, the physician may conclude that there is inflammation of the prostate. However, many times, the prostate is not actually inflamed, and it is merely spasms within the pelvic floor.
– Chronic compression from biking, sitting, etc.
– A pelvic malalignment, such as sacroiliac joint dysfunction
– Lower back pain
Let’s Talk About the Male Anatomy: Yes, men have a pelvic floor, too!
As shown below, the pelvic floor muscles are suspended from the pubic bones to the tailbone, and they have 4 major functions:
– Sexual excitation
– Sphincter control of urine/stool
– Support of pelvic organs (bladder, bowels, prostate)
– Stabilization of the pelvic bones
– Shannon DeSalvo, PT
This blog is here for your help. It is the opinion of a Licensed Physical Therapist. If you experience the symptoms addressed you should seek the help of a medical professional who can diagnose and develop a treatment plan that is individualized for you. If you enjoyed this blog, check out our website at foundationalconcepts.net for more blog entries and to learn more about our specialty PT practice, Foundational Concepts. Follow us on Twitter @foundational1 @SarahpelvicPT @Jenn_pelvic_PT or @AmandaFisherPT and like us on Facebook/Foundational Concepts for updates.