Physical therapy can help with pelvic pain. Some of the most common complaints with this are testicular pain, penile pain, bladder pain or rectal pain. PT can also help with some types of constipation as well as some types of erectile dysfunction.
Physical therapists are part of your healthcare team if you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer. PT can address incontinence, pain and erectile function that may be associated with prostate cancer treatment.
Frequently Asked Question (FAQ’s)I was just diagnosed with prostate cancer. When should I see PT?
We recommend seeing PT before having an intervention. The research shows that even one session prior to radiation or prostatectomy can improve outcomes. This is largely due to your brain learning how to use the pelvic muscles more effectively prior to having a disruption. Optimal timing to see PT would be approximately 6 weeks prior to a prostatectomy or radiation to allow time for you to build strength and coordination.
I already had a prostatectomy/radiation. Can PT still help?
Yes! We can often still make gains as long as there are still nerves intact to the muscles of the pelvic floor.
How does physical therapy help with erectile function?
Physical therapy is one part of your healthcare team. We can address the musculoskeletal aspects such as muscle tension, guarding or scar tissue that may be restricting blood flow into the penis.
What does a physical therapy assessment look like for my pelvic floor?
Pelvic physical therapy starts like any other physical therapy with an interview. We will then generally do an orthopedic screening assessment and, if necessary an internal pelvic exam. For men, this involves a rectal exam. That said, thanks to the use of real time ultrasound, many men do not require an internal assessment to learn improved pelvic floor coordination.
Isn’t pelvic floor physical therapy just Kegels?
Most definitely not. Your pelvic floor PT will assess you as a whole person to see how your pelvic floor fits into the picture of you as a whole person. Many men actually end up having to learn to relax rather than strengthen their pelvic floor—especially in the case of pelvic pain or constipation.
Do I have to have an internal exam? Why would I need to and what does that look like?
An internal exam for men is a rectal exam. Many men are able to improve their pelvic floor coordination without an internal assessment. The most common scenario for us to need to look at your pelvic floor internally is with a muscle spasm that will not let go. Even if it is recommended by your PT, you always have the right to decline. While we may not be able to help you as much if you opt not to have an internal assessment, there is almost always something we can do to help even without internal work. It is always your body and your choice.