Male Pelvic Floor Exercises

Men's Health Physiotherapy

Article by Scott Schulte

What Is The Male Pelvic Floor?

The male pelvic floor is a complex structure made up of muscles, ligaments, nerves and fascia. The pelvic floor muscles stretch like a hammock from the tail bone at the back to the pubic bone at the front. They are responsible for the maintenance of bladder and bowel continence, sexual function and pelvic organ support.

Some pelvic floor muscles are made of skeletal muscle, which means they can be voluntarily activated, just like the muscles in your arms and legs. These pelvic floor muscles comprise of two types of muscle fibres, with each responsible for different functions:

  • Slow twitch (type 1) endurance fibres make up 80% of the PFM.
  • Fast twitch (type 2) fibres make up the other 20% of the PFM

Why Do Your Pelvic Floor Muscles Weaken?

The pelvic floor muscles can be weakened by:

  • continual straining to empty your bowels (constipation);
  • persistent heavy lifting;
  • a chronic cough (such as smoker’s cough or chronic bronchitis and asthma);
  • being overweight;
  • surgery (e.g. prostate removal)
  • lack of general fitness.

What Are The Benefits Of Pelvic Floor Exercises?

There are many conditions and presentations where pelvic floor exercises are essential for men, including:

  • Reducing or preventing age-related onset of pelvic floor muscle weakness
  • Improvement of stress and urge urinary incontinence (involuntary loss of urine)
  • Recovery of urinary incontinence following surgery (eg. prostate surgery)
  • Improvement of fecal incontinence
  • When combined with bladder retraining, pelvic floor training can improve the ability to “hold on”.

What To Do If You Have Weak Pelvic Floor Muscles?

Your quickest and most effective way of training your correct pelvic floor muscles is with the assistance of a physiotherapist with a particular interest in pelvic floor conditions. They will help you to:

  • assess your current pelvic floor function, usually with the help of real-time ultrasound,
  • confirm a diagnosis of urge or stress incontinence, or other health condition,
  • identify your correct pelvic floor muscle contraction,
  • provide you with home exercises, guidance and re-assessment,
  • offer real-time ultrasound physiotherapy to assist your pelvic floor retraining.

Where To Seek Help For Your Pelvic Floor

We highly recommend that you seek the advice of a men’s health physiotherapist. Good results take time, and it will take less time with the right information.

To build up your pelvic floor muscles to their maximum strength, you will need to work hard at these exercises under the guidance of your men’s health physiotherapist.

What Else Can You Do To Help Your Pelvic Floor Muscles?

While you are undergoing pelvic floor muscle training, it can be beneficial to minimise activities that stress your pelvic floor, particularly if the activities cause stress incontinence. We suggest that you should:

  • Share the lifting of heavy loads
  • Reduce risk of constipation and prevent any straining during a bowel movement;
  • Seek medical advice for hay-fever, asthma and bronchitis to reduce sneezing and coughing;
  • Keep your weight within the right range for your height and age.
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