For many men out there, pelvic health issues, especially those that deal with forms of sexual dysfunction or pain around the pelvic region, can feel embarrassing to deal with. We’re here to let you know that you’re not alone, and these issues impact significantly more men than you might think!
In fact, an Australian study reported that out of more than 100,000 Australian men aged 45+, 61% experienced some form of erectile dysfunction. This type of dysfunction is common amongst men, despite the lack of conversation happening around the issue.
If you are dealing with some kind of sexual dysfunction or other pelvic health issue such as incontinence or chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS), there are treatment options out there that can help alleviate your symptoms.
Let’s explore some of these different conditions that can impact men as a result of pelvic health issues. Then, we’ll explore different treatment options available that can address them.
Conditions That Affect Male Sexual Dysfunction and Pelvic Health
What are some of the reasons a man may be dealing with some form of sexual dysfunction or other pelvic health condition? Let’s explore some different conditions a man may be dealing with:
Erectile dysfunction is a condition where a man loses the ability to achieve or maintain an erection. This can include having trouble becoming erect, or trouble maintaining an erection during intercourse.
Erectile dysfunction can range from mild to severe cases. Even if a patient can sometimes successfully achieve an erection, there may be other instances in which they cannot.
Symptoms of erectile dysfunction include:
- Difficulty becoming erect
- Difficulty maintaining an erection
What causes erectile dysfunction?
There are a number of different factors that can contribute to erectile dysfunction. These include:
- Smoking or vaping
- Substance abuse
- Trauma to the pelvic region
- Weak pelvic floor muscle
- Spinal cord disorders
- Penile abnormalities
- Neurological conditions (Parkinson’s, stroke, multiple sclerosis, etc.)
- Endocrinological issues (thyroid disorders, hypogonadism, hyperprolactinemia)
- Psychological issues (Depression, anxiety, stress, etc.)
- Medication side effects
Hard Flaccid Syndrome
Hard flaccid syndrome is a term used to describe the combination of a number of different symptoms, including:
- Shortening of the penis in a flaccid state
- Sensation changes in the penis
- Temperature changes in the penis
- Texture changes in the penis (ex/ feeling rubbery instead of spongy)
- Pain in the penis
- Painful ejaculation
- Erectile dysfunction
What causes Hard Flaccid Syndrome?
Hard flaccid syndrome can be the result of different issues, including:
- Injury to the penis
- Failed penis enhancements
- Pelvic floor muscle tension/weakened pelvic floor muscles
Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (CPPS)
Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome, sometimes called Male Pelvic Pain or Chronic Prostatitis, covers a range of prostatitis-related conditions that consist of urological issues in men. While in some cases the symptoms/issues presented here can result from bacterial infection, to fall under the Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome umbrella, no bacterial infection is actively present at the time of diagnosis.
Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome usually presents itself with symptoms including:
- Pain in the urethra/penis/testicals/rectum/scrotum while urinating, ejaculating, having a bowel movement, sitting, or stress
- Increased urge to urinate, urinating more often
- Urge urinary incontinence
- Issues starting/stopping urine flow
- Inability to completely empty the bladder and/or bowels
- Sexual dysfunction (inc. erectile dysfunction, pain when ejaculating, premature ejaculation)
What causes Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome?
There are a few different things that can trigger the onset of this condition in men, including:
- Infection (Note: While infection can trigger this condition, a patient needs to be free of infection to be diagnosed with Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome. For example, a urinary tract infection that causes the onset of pelvic pain, with the pain not going away even after the infection is cleared, would fall under the Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome umbrella.)
- History of abuse (physical, sexual, emotional)
- Increased exercise activity
- Stress and anxiety
- Trauma to the tailbone, soft tissue injuries
- Injuries from sports or sexual activity
- Lower back/hip pain
- Prolonged sitting
New Treatments for Male Pelvic Health Conditions
Now that you know a bit more about men’s sexual dysfunction and other pelvic health issues, let’s explore the treatment options available.
When treating any kind of sexual dysfunction or pelvic health condition, a patient should first seek the opinion of their GP. If it is discovered that a weakened pelvic floor is the source of the issue, a physiotherapist can help and begin a treatment plan suited to a patient’s condition.
Why treat the pelvic floor? The pelvic floor muscles are responsible for supporting pelvic organs. For men, this includes the bladder and bowel, and the urethra.
A weak pelvic floor in men can cause a number of different issues. Weak pelvic muscles can lead to a loss of bladder control and increased bladder leaks, also known as urinary incontinence. It can even lead to faecal incontinence.
Because the urethra passes through these pelvic muscles, pelvic floor issues can also impact sexual sensation and sexual function in men. This is why for many sexual dysfunction issues, treating the pelvic floor muscles is a good place to start.
Today, there are exciting new technologies emerging that are changing the way we can approach strengthening the pelvic floor or increasing blood flow, and treating issues like stress incontinence, urge incontinence, or sexual dysfunction. Rather than focusing solely on common incontinence treatments, like kegel exercises, we can now also look to include other, new and complementary technologies to stimulate the pelvic floor muscles or increase blood flow, which may be needed to improve a patient’s health.
These new technologies include:
Emsella Chair Treatments
The Emsella chair is an exciting new technology that is changing pelvic floor muscle treatment. This device provides pelvic floor stimulation in a non-invasive and painless way and can provide results in as little as just a single session.
How does Emsella treatment work? The patient sits on the Emsella chair, which uses electromagnetic energy to trigger supramaximal pelvic floor muscle contractions. These contractions will strengthen the pelvic floor muscle via muscle contraction, addressing pelvic floor issues.
Focused Shockwave Therapy
Focused shockwave therapy also uses technology to simulate muscles and tissues, and provide fast results. This therapy works by delivering low-frequency sound waves to a patient’s affected area via an electromagnetic device. When these waves hit the affected tissue it will help to increase blood flow to the area, release nitric oxide, reduce inflammation, and form new blood vessels in the tissue.
This treatment in particular has proven effective in treating sexual dysfunction issues, especially in men with vascular-driven causes behind erectile dysfunction.
Pursuing Treatment with Sydney Pelvic Clinic
If you would like to find out more on either of the evidence-based treatment options above, we encourage you to reach out to Sydney Pelvic Clinic.
Our team is fully prepared to address any and all pelvic health issues you may have, utilising custom treatment plans with cutting-edge, evidence-based technology to get you results. If you’d like to learn more, click here to book a consultation.