Pelvic Pain in Men
So we’ve spent some time on SPD or Pelvic Girdle Pain a condition primarily affecting women, but there are many, many other types of chronic pelvic pain and conditions that affect both men and/or women.
Today, I thought we would focus on male pelvic pain and tips on strengthening the pelvic floor muscles.
Male Pelvic Pain: What is it?
Just like the differing types of female pelvic pain, there are a number of types of male pelvic pain. Some of the more common ailments are called “chronic pelvic pain syndrome,” “prostatitis” and “urogenital pain syndrome.”
As mentioned, there are various other types of male pelvic pain, and if you are experiencing pain in your pelvic area, it’s vital for you to visit your GP. If you’ve already done that, then good on you. I mean it. Lots of people (both male and female) are reluctant to go to the doctor, but the reality is the only person that is going to look after you is you, so do this one step for yourself.
I know, it’s annoying advice, but seriously, visit your GP. Tell them some stranger on the internet suggested it was a good idea, if you think that will help.
I have just spent part of the last paragraph telling you to see your doctor, but to give you a head-start the Mayo clinic has a checklist for some types of pelvic pain here:
Okay, if your GP looks like this, find another doctor.
Determining what sort of condition you have doesn’t need to be a burden. Sure, you may never have heard of whatever condition you have or you may be asking yourself ‘why me?’ but the first step in learning how to manage your pain is knowing how you got there in the first place.
It goes without saying, that you shouldn’t jump to conclusions based on info you find on the internet, so again, please do see a doctor if you have one or more of symptoms such as:
- Discomfort, pressure and/or pain in your abdomen
- Discomfort, pressure and/or pain in your groin area
- Discomfort and/or pain in your penis
- Pain in your testes
- Pain while urinating
- Pain during sex
- Pain while ejaculating
- Itching, burning, numbness or pain around your genitals or inner thighs
And I don’t want to leave you hanging without resources, so click on the links below for more information about:
I don’t know if this is good news or bad news, but just like every female sufferer of chronic pain experiences her pain in different ways or degrees, so too, will every male sufferer/survivor. You may get the same diagnosis as another man, but your pain or, perhaps, pain level will be unique to you.
Some pelvic pain will be treatable. That’s good news. Others will be chronic, but there is some good news. If you have chronic pelvic pain you can still work on strengthening your pelvic floor muscles. Yeah, a common misconception is that strong pelvic floor muscles only benefits women (or is only for women), but nope, having strong pelvic floor muscles and a strong core is also beneficial for men.
I know this news is as about as exciting as the Fiat below, but stay with me.
It’s inside that counts, am I right?
Do we need to go over what the pelvic floor is? If you are down with all that, just skip to some exercises below, but if you would like more information on what your pelvic floor is all about, boom, here it is.
What is the pelvic floor?
It’s a group of muscles and ligaments that extends from your tailbone to the front part of your pubic bone. The muscles and ligaments that create your pelvic floor which supports your bladder and bowel (and womb if you’re a female). It also helps with the waterworks by helping control your urethra (the tube that takes your pee out), and also helps control the anus. Your pelvic floor muscles are extremely important, so it’s vital that you keep them as strong as possible.
*In full disclosure I am no artist and I have discovered during the process of trying to draw correct male anatomy that I am terrible at drawing penises. Sorry.
The male pelvis showing the pelvic floor. Not a great dick pic, but informative nonetheless.
Why have my pelvic floor muscles weakened or why do I have a weak pelvic floor at all?
There are a number of factors that can lead to weakened pelvic floor muscles in men. This is not an exhaustive list, but some of them include:
- Just a gradual weakening due to lack of exercise. Muscles are muscles (ha!) and they will get weaker or smaller if we don’t exercise them. You may skip leg day, but don’t skip pelvic floor muscle day.
- Being overweight. Lots of people struggle with their weight. It’s okay. Life and work often prevents us from eating what we should be eating even when we have the best intentions to eat healthier or exercise. Extra weight can put extra pressure on your pelvic floor though, so it’s a good idea to talk to your GP if you think any extra pounds may be causing extra problems.
- Having a chronic cough. Seriously. Like coughing up a lung isn’t bad enough, coughing on a regular basis can strain your pelvic floor muscles. If you do have a chronic cough, try to cough without shaking your entire body. When you cough exhale and try not to make your coughing noise go down, rather, make your noise go out. Also, try to hold a pillow while coughing.
- Straining yourself when you go to the bathroom. Yeah, being constipated and/or forcing or pushing down when you open your bowels can weaken your pelvic floor.
- Prostate Surgery can sometimes weaken your pelvic floor.
Tips on strengthening your pelvic floor muscles:
Okay, this will be the cheapest exercises you’ll ever do because you don’t need exercise gear or fitness clothing. Yay for free! There are two methods you can try. Don’t over-do it and don’t expect instant results. Make it a habit, part of something you do on a daily basis, and aim for 3 times a day. These aren’t cures, but these are still very important for tips to help manage pelvic pain or related conditions.
For starters grab a seat on a chair (or you can even do these on the toilet).
Method 1: The slow-twitch method
- Sit and close up or tighten up the muscles around your anus as though you are on a first date and don’t want to fart in front of your date (clearly a second date thing, right?).
- At the same time, don’t clench your butt muscles. You aren’t trying to make your butt look like a rock, you are working on the back passage.
- Now that you’re squeezing the muscles around your back passage, continue to close up the muscles further up around your urethra. How do you do this? It’s the same muscle movement you do when you are trying to hold in a pee.
- Breathe normally. Don’t hold your breath.
- If you can hold those muscles for 5 seconds then release for 5 seconds and squeeze again for 5 (and so on). If you can hold that squeeze for 10 seconds, 12 seconds, etc., then release for the same amount of time and continue.
- Stop when you feel tired. If you can manage 5 reps, that’s okay. Over time, you should see some improvement and increased strength in your pelvic floor muscles.
- Do this several times throughout your day.
Method 2: The fast-twitch method
- Follow steps 1―4 above.
- Hold for one second and then relax for one.
- Repeat this until you feel tired.
There are also a few DON’Ts when doing pelvic floor muscles which will ensure you are doing them safely and correctly.
DON’Ts for Pelvic Floor Exercises:
- Remember not to squeeze your bum.
- Don’t hold your breath.
- Don’t squeeze too hard that it becomes painful.
- Don’t keep your knees together.
- Don’t lift or raise your shoulders. This is a pelvic exercise, not a shrugging exercise.
Stay motivated. Keep at it!
Pelvic floor muscle exercises are like any other exercises, continued practice will strengthen those muscles over time. Remember, this is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.
Once you reach pelvic muscle level 1000: you can try the exercises while squatting or standing. Really, do this whenever you feel confident enough to do so…maybe even in your own car.
No better place to exercise your pelvic floor muscles. Keep at it!
If you have or had pelvic pain and want to share your story feel free to in the comments or send a message. We’d be happy to feature your story too, so get in touch.
Check out the links below and see if our product range might be able to help you find relief.
Be well, everyone!