I am always surprised at the lack of information available for men suffering from pelvic pain. Many of the men who eventually find me say that for a long time they have wondered if they are the only ones in this position.
It is not something they are able to often disucss with their friends and having a knowledgeable physiotherapist to discuss the problem with is a great relief.
It can be a private world of hell for men with pain in the pelvis and it can be difficult to find help. Men will often suffer, thinking they are the only ones in the world with such embarrassing symptoms – pain so bad that they can’t sit for long, pain having a pee or emptying bowels, pain with erections or ejaculation that can have them on the floor in tears.. Yes, all the things that used to be a source of pleasure, become agonizing and a cause of fear.
It’s not uncommon for medical tests to all come back negative – and that’s when it becomes really scary. If the professors can’t explain the pain, then it must be bad, the fear escalates and anxiety takes a hold.
The hidden muscles of the pelvis – the pelvic floor
The one part of the pelvis that is often missed with testing is the layer of muscles called the pelvic floor. It’s big, hidden, responsible for all those things (peeing, defaecting, erections, ejaculation) and can sometimes go into spasm – hence the intense nature of the pain. Think what a cramp in a calf muscle is like – it can have you in instant agony and only goes away when you stretch it out. You have found this website and the opportunity to find help with a pelvic floor physiotherapist who understands the pelvic floor muscles and pelvic pain. These internal muscles most likely need to relax, so doing pelvic floor exercises (“Kegel’s” ) and “core” abdominal exercises will make things worse.
Some tips for getting on top of this pain
1. See a Pelvic Floor Physio and learn to relax these muscles. The Relaxation Training, which you can download or buy as a CD, is uniquely designed for men with pelvic pain and is a great way to start.
2. Particular stretches can help to loosen the muscles inside and outside the pelvis: Look for the “Relaxed Frog”, “Child’s pose” and the “Flat Frog” on the Pelvic Pain Foundation of Australia website at www.pelvicpain.org.au
3. Understand Pelvic Pain – In conjunction with The Adelaide Pelvic Pain Network, we run monthly evening seminars at Flex Rehabilitation Clinic, Norwood, South Australia, to help men with pelvic pain, and their partners, understand the science of pain. A better understanding of why pelvic pain happens can be a turning point on the road to recovery.
Look on the Flex website (www.flexclinic.com.au) or The Adelaide Pelvic Pain Network (www.adelaidepelvicpainnetwork.org) for dates or call Flex Clinic.
4. Tackle stress and anxiety by talking to your GP or a psychologist
5. Exercise daily – a mindful walk, not a tough gym workout in the early stages.
The best tip of all – get individual help to get you on that road to recovery!