All about the pelvic floor is an exciting new blog which we hope you will take some valuable information from. If you are a physiotherapist, urologist, gynaecologist, continence specialist or specialise in the pelvic floor and would be interested to publish your articles please write to me firstname.lastname@example.org I will publish your article here.
At the moment we are working with some amazing people. Mary O’Dwyer a physiotherapist from Australia who wrote several books, one being ‘Hold it Sister’. Available on www.amazon.co.uk, www.incostress.com as well as her own site www.holditsister.com . As the book was written by an Ozzy you can expect the clear, direct no-nonsense approach. Women love this book because it tells them exactly what they need to know in a language they understand. No medical jargon, just plain English with clearly illustrated diagrams to help women. We have had positive feedback from the medical world as well as the everyday women. Thank you Mary, at last an author who understands the needs of the reader.
We would like to kick off with an article written by Linda McClelland. For a change we will look at the mens pelvic floor. Yes guys you have one too and after this article you will realise why it is just as important for you to keep your pelvic floor in check. Learn more from Linda on http://www.pelvicfloorexercise.com.au
You would be amazed:
We live with it day in day out, we know it intimately, we dress it, we undress it, we were born with it and we will dye with it. Yes its the human body! Yet millions of people don’t know how or why their body functions and stops functioning. Every week I aim to enlighten you on your body, to help you help yourself improve your quality of life.
Lets start with men. We hear so often women speaking about the pelvic floor yet the men are even more in the dark about their own bodies than you can belive.
Why should men do pelvic floor exercises ?
A strong pelvic floor muscle is important for men too. Women have been encouraged to exercise their pelvic floor muscle for decades, but now we understand that it is just as vital for men, and especially for men with specific health issues. Research has found that :
- a strong pelvic floor overcomes erectile dysfunction (Uni of Bristol study, 2004) This is becoming more and more prevalent.
- a regular program of pelvic floor exercise achieves the same success rate as Viagra (Uni of Bristol study, 2004)
- pelvic floor exercises are a safer and cheaper option than drugs; Viagra is associated with damage to the eyes and vision in a significant number of men using it, but exercises are safe for everyone (May 2005). Medications are much more costly than an exercise program.
- pelvic floor exercise can “increase awareness of sexual sensations and enhance enjoyment” (Impotence Association, UK)
- pelvic floor exercises can bring a dramatic improvement for men who experience dribbling after urinating (Uni of Bristol study, 2005)
- pelvic floor exercises are strongly recommended for men following a prostatectomy. Research has shown that pelvic floor strengthening can improve sexual function and overcome urinary incontinence. Some research shows that self-directed exercise, using verbal and written instructions, can work just as well as intensive physio (Moore and others, 2008), while the latest findings demonstrate that a mere 12 sessions of electrical stimulation and biofeedback, each of 35 mins duration and starting 7 days after catheter removal resulted in almost all men regaining continence at 6 months (Mariotti and others, 2009). Read more.
How to identify the pelvic floor muscles
The Australian Department of Health and Ageing provides guidelines on pelvic floor exercises for men. They recommend that the first step is to find the appropriate muscles around the anus and the urethra.
Start by sitting or laying comfortably with the muscles of your thighs, bottom and stomach relaxed. Tighten the ring of muscle around your anus without squeezing your bottom.
To feel these muscles around the urethra, try to stop your flow of urine mid-stream, and then restart it.
You should only do this to find which muscles to use, or to check your progress. Don’t practice this more than once a week, or it could affect your ability to pass urine.
How to exercise the pelvic floor muscles
Once you can feel your pelvic floor muscles working, you can attempt to exercise them.
- Tighten and draw in the muscles around the anus and urethra, lifting the muscles up inside.
- Count to five, then release and relax. The Department says you should have a ‘definite feeling of letting go’.
- Their guidelines recommend men repeat this up to maximum of 8 to 10 squeezes, resting for 10 seconds after each tightening of the muscles.
- You should follow this by 5 to 10 short, strong squeezes in quick succession.
- Repeat the slow and quick squeezes around four to five times a day.
Need more help to exercise?
In spite of the guidelines, it’s very hard to identify, isolate and exercise pelvic floor muscles without help. Exercise aids and devices provide the little extra help that turns your effort into success, while DVDs and books provide ongoing guidance and support to help you achieve real results.
Exercise devices assist you in strengthening the pelvic floor in two main ways:
- Exercisers can provide “resistance”
This is commonsense. Body builders do not build strong biceps by repeatedly contracting their arms in the air; they do it by using weights or other devices that provide resistance.
- Exercisers can provide feedback that the exercise is being done correctly
Many men and women find it extremely hard to do anal pelvic floor contractions correctly, especially when they first begin, so they benefit from using a device that confirms that the correct muscle is being exercised and that the contraction is being fully held for maximum benefit.
Physiotherapists use such exercise aids and devices to assist in teaching correct exercise techniques, but they are also available for you to use in the privacy of your own home.
Did you find this article interesting? Please leave your comments. I would be interested to find out how many men actually practice their pelvic floor muscle exercises.