Along with Father’s Day, Men’s Health Month is also celebrated each year in June to heighten awareness of preventable health problems, encourage early detection and treatment, and inform the community about the available local resources for health care specifically for men and boys.
One very common but treatable health issue for men, especially as they age, is incontinence.
Incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine. This may occur with coughing, sneezing, changing positions, walking and lifting objects. The cause is often weak pelvic floor muscles or pelvic floor muscle incoordination that can occur after surgery. It is common for urinary incontinence to present itself after prostate surgery. It can also lead to embarrassment, depression, anxiety and decreased participation in social activities
According to the National Institute of Health, 20 percent of all Americans will suffer from some type of pelvic floor dysfunction such as urinary incontinence or pelvic pain during their lifetime. For those in the metro-east, HSHS St. Elizabeth’s offers a Pelvic Health Specialty Clinic that can help both men and women.
“When the pelvic floor muscles are not working correctly, such as being too weak or unable to relax fully, they often cause pain as well as other symptoms such as urinary incontinence, or difficulty with emptying the bladder or bowel completely. These issues significantly impact daily life,” said Stacie Dichsen PT, DPT, Pelvic and Women’s Health Physical Therapist at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital.
Common causes of pelvic floor dysfunction can include infections, prostate disorders, chronic stress/anxiety, back issues, trauma or surgery.
St. Elizabeth’s Hospital’s physical therapists, including a board-certified Pelvic Floor Therapist and Therapeutic Pain Specialist, develop a comprehensive, individualized and progressive program. Men can benefit from a pelvic floor exercise program to maintain normal function since weak pelvic floor muscles may contribute to urinary incontinence and sexual dysfunction.
Interventions may include:
pelvic floor exercise program
behavioral modification for bladder retraining
computerized biofeedback for pelvic floor muscle reeducation
manometry training, and/or balloon training
“If you or a loved one is experiencing one or more symptoms of pelvic dysfunction, it is important to talk to your doctor about your concerns,” notes Dichsen. “Pelvic dysfunction can affect anyone regardless of their gender or age, including children. Left untreated, many of these conditions can lead to low self-esteem, withdrawal from physical activity and withdrawal from social situations and personal relationships.”
St. Elizabeth’s Pelvic Health Specialty Clinic has physical therapists with advanced training and specialization in identifying and treating the multiple contributing factors of pelvic floor dysfunction. For additional information or for questions, call (618) 624-3668.