So what exactly is pelvic floor dysfunction, also known as chronic pelvic pain syndrome? This requires a bit of male anatomy education.
The pelvic floor is a complicated network of muscles that support our bowels and abdominal organs. These muscles overlap and interact with each other. Nerves and blood vessels wrap around and through these muscles to get to the legs and sexual organs. The urethra as well as the rectum also navigate through these muscles. The penis itself is embedded in these muscles much the same way a flagpole is held by a bracket on the side of the house. Most guys know these muscles because these are the muscles they contract to make the penis bounce up and down if they have an erection.
In a healthy person, these muscles are flexible, strong, and are involved in daily life and we do not even notice their existence. Pelvic floor dysfunction is when any one of these muscles, or several muscles, go into spasm. Much like a Charlie horse or a tight muscle in your back, these muscles tighten up and prevent free movement. Many times, men are not even aware that these muscles are tight. It is often remarkable because we know a Charlie horse hurts like crazy, and back spasms can be excruciating. Yet, men can walk around with their pelvic floor muscles completely knotted up and have no sense of pain.
When these muscles are tight, or in spasm, they can pinch blood vessels, they can impinge on nerves and affect nerve function. These muscles can pinch the urethra shut as well as the rectum. I had one patient who said every time he had to urinate his penis would curl. The physical therapist told me this was because the muscle on one side of his groin was extremely tight and pulled on one side of his penis causing it to curl to the right. You can imagine when he went to the doctor and told him what was going on, the doctor simply did not believe him!
It is becoming more understandable how pelvic floor muscles can interfere with sexual function. One study discovered that pelvic floor muscles are often involved in sexual dysfunction far more than doctors were aware. The study helps to explain why sexual function can be so compromised and problems include pain in the penis especially during ejaculation, variable erections, and the feeling of having a dead penis.
Many men find it extremely frustrating that symptoms can come and go, and they do not understand why. This is usually because the levels of tightness in the muscles is dependent upon stress, sleep, exercise, and activity levels.
Pelvic floor disorder affects virtually every aspect of a man’s life. Some men cannot sit on a hard surface such as a bench. They often cannot ride bicycles and motorcycles. Some men find pain with ejaculation so excruciating that they will avoid sex or masturbation completely. Some men find post-urination dribbling to be extremely embarrassing. Some men even lose bowel control.
Pelvic Floor Dysfunction and Chronic Pelvic Pain are completely treatable, when the root cause is treated (and not just the individual symptoms) by a specialist. Contact us for more information or to schedule a free phone consultation.
Here are several educational sites for accurate information.