By Dr. Brooke Meinema, DPT, FAFS The pelvic floor consists of a group of muscles…
By Dr. Brooke Meinema, DPT, FAFS
My doctor recommended pelvic floor physical therapy. What should I expect?
For many men, the idea of seeing a pelvic health physical therapist, especially a female physical therapist, can feel a bit nerve-wracking. The first thing we want you to understand is this: we are professionals who are here to help. Men, like women, have pelvic floors, and men, like women, can require therapy to address issues that may stem from their pelvic floors. Our goal is to help you understand your body as well as overcome whatever ailment you are dealing with in a comfortable environment free of judgment.
So…what is pelvic floor physical therapy?
The pelvic floor is a group of muscles in the bottom of the pelvis designed to support the bladder, rectum, and prostate. These muscles are important for urinary, bowel, and sexual function. Physical therapy is a holistic approach working to actively manage and overcome pelvic floor dysfunction to improve control, alleviate discomfort, and improve quality of life. Much like you would expect for other areas of the body, pelvic health physical therapy can use a combination of manual therapy, therapeutic exercises, functional activities, and home exercises to address your specific needs.
For those considering men’s health physical therapy, here are a few things I want you to know:
- There is no such thing as “TMI” (too much information).
- With the nature of this profession, we have heard a lot of personal and sensitive information. For us, this may seem like a normal conversation, but we understand that it may feel very different for you. Our hope is for you to feel comfortable disclosing whatever may be bothering you so we can fully address your concerns and help you reach your personal goals.
- An internal assessment is NEVER required.
- While doing an internal assessment (for men, this would be performed rectally) can be potentially helpful for certain cases, in many instances it is not necessary and it is absolutely NEVER required. Your comfort and consent will always determine our course of action for each therapy session.
- There is not a “one size fits all” approach to physical therapy.
- What works for one person may not work for you. With this in mind, we develop our treatment plan and goals based on the specific needs of each patient. Finding advice and exercise programs online can be helpful for some, but if this is not alleviating your symptoms entirely, seeing a physical therapist can be an important next step. While one person may benefit from manual therapy, another may be best suited to performing higher-intensity tasks, and working with a specialized physical therapist who understands your needs may be the next step toward reaching your specific goals.
- Things do not always go away on their own.
- While some problems can be resolved on their own, oftentimes this is not always the case. The longer a condition is left untreated, the longer the recovery process may take. Working with a physical therapist to understand your specific issues can often allow you greater control over whatever is bothering you to reduce your symptoms as well as prevent a future flare-up. Similarly, physical therapy can speed up the recovery process for certain issues, such as following surgery for prostate cancer, to help you regain control and function sooner.
Not sure where to start?
If your doctor is recommending you try pelvic health physical therapy, but you aren’t sure what to expect or confident this will help, please reach out! We are always happy to respond to emails and also offer free phone consultations where we can discuss what it is you are hoping to address, your goals, if we feel therapy is a good next step, and what you can expect at your first session. Email us directly at PelvicHealth@imovedaily.com or call 616.847.1280.