Up to 1 in 10 men may develop problems with bladder control and/or sexual function, and the risk increases with age. Stress urinary incontinence, for example, is a common problem experienced by many men following prostate surgery (eg prostatectomy or TURP (transurethral resection of the prostate)).
Research shows that physiotherapy can help men to strengthen their pelvic floor muscles and improve bladder control, reduce leakage, avoid ‘after dribble’ and, in some cases, also help improve sexual function.
Pelvic floor muscle training can help men to manage, improve or resolve the following problems:
- stress urinary incontinence – caused by a rise in intra-abdominal pressure (eg coughing, sneezing, shouting, laughing, lifting, bending or standing up from sitting)
- urgency and/or urge incontinence – a sudden compelling urge to pass urine, and maybe leaking on the way to the toilet
- after-dribble (aka ‘post-micturition’ dribble) – leaking a small amount of urine leaving the toilet
- frequency – going to the toilet to pass urine more than 6-8 times a day (during the day and/or at night)
- erectile dysfunction – inability to achieve or maintain an erection and/or premature ejaculation
- faecal urgency and/or incontinence – a sudden strong urge to open their bowels, and/or not making it to the toilet and losing stool, and
- difficulty controlling wind.
These problems are often linked to weak pelvic floor muscles, although it is best to be assessed by a specialist therapist to see if pelvic floor muscle training is appropriate. Men experiencing problems initiating the flow of urine, or who have to strain to empty their bladder, or have blood in their urine or pain on emptying their bladder, should always seek professional help.