Male pelvic pain is hard to talk about and many men don’t. The symptoms can be very similar to the pelvic pain that women experience–pain with sitting, standing, walking, going to the bathroom. This pain can be with in the hip, buttock, inner thigh, and low back. That’s easy to talk about. It’s the pain in the penis, scrotum, and testicles that can become difficult for some men to talk about with anyone. Some men will have pain with a full bladder or with emptying their bladder, sometimes with an erection or ejaculation, or a bowel movement. Often times they might have a difficult time starting the stream of urine, take a long time to empty their bladder, or not be able to empty at all. Often, all the different pains will get grouped into a chronic prostatitis diagnosis.
Pelvic pain can result from many different factors. One of the most common causes is muscle tightness in the pelvic floor muscles, inner thighs, lower abdomen, diaphragm, and lower back. If the muscles are unable to relax and lengthen, the tissues that surround the muscles can also carry increased tension in them. These tissues can include nerves, connective tissues, and joints. If a nerve has increased pressure on it, particularly the Pudendal Nerve , the pelvic floor muscle tightness can radiate to the penis, scrotum, and testicles. This is sometimes referred to as Pudendal neuralgia.
Many times, men will come to our clinic and ask two questions. Am I the only ones with this type of pain and is there anything to make it better. The answer to the first question is “You are not alone.” And the answer to the second question is a resounding “YES!” Pelvic floor physical therapy can make a world of difference with the pelvic pain you are experiencing. When I do an evaluation for male pelvic pain, I am looking at how the muscles of the hip, low back, and abdomen move with the surrounding joints. I also check the muscles of the pelvic floor to see if they are able to relax and if there is any specific point of pain. Treatments include stretching exercises, increasing muscle and soft tissue mobility, core strengthening, and relaxation strategies.
I truly enjoy the challenge of working with men who have pelvic pain. So many times, once we are able to pinpoint where the pain is coming from and figure out some stretching and stress management strategies, the embarrassment related to not knowing the cause of the pelvic pain is lifted. So, yes, pelvic floor physical therapy is for men, too!
–Jennifer Cumming, PT, MSPT, CLT
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 @SarahpelvicPT or @Jenn_pelvic_PT and like us on Facebook at Foundational Concepts for updates.