Men with pelvic pain often suffer in silence and feel very alone. Chronic or persistent pelvic pain syndrome is the most common urologic issue in men and affects 1 in 12 men in Australia.
Persistent pelvic pain is a condition where persistent or recurrent episodes of pain is experienced for more than 6 months. This pain can be experienced in the testes, penis, perineal area, anus, lower abdomen or groin area.
Persistent pelvic pain has complex causative mechanisms that involve not only muscles and pelvic structures, but sometimes also the peripheral nervous system and central nervous system (nerves and brain).
Signs and symptoms of persistent pelvic pain
- Pain in the testes, penis, perineal area, anus, lower abdomen or groin area
- Pain before, during or after orgasm / ejaculation
- Pain when holding on to urine, during urination or after
- Twitching and/or spasm in your pelvic floor muscles
- Change in erectile function
- Sensitivity to tight clothes around the stomach, groin or perineum
Common causes of persistent pelvic pain
- Problems with the pelvic floor muscles
- History of low back and/or pelvic pain
- History of chronic constipation
- History of urinary tract infections, STDs or skin conditions
- Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS)
- Psychological factors such as stress, anxiety, low mood and relationship problems
- Things that have occurred in your past, such as a history of trauma and/or abuse
How can physiotherapy help?
- Physiotherapy involves finding all the contributing factors for your pain and can include:
- A comprehensive assessment of the pain history, patterns and onset will be performed to help guide treatment
- Retraining of the pelvic floor muscles and nerves
- Relaxation strategies and down regulation of the central nervous system drivers
- If indicated, manual techniques to desensitise the nerves and muscles of the pelvic floor which can include self-massage and dry needling
- A musculoskeletal assessment of your posture, breathing, thorax, abdomen and pelvis
- Bladder and bowel retraining
- If indicated, the use of a TENS machine may help manage your pain
- Advice on lifestyle factors including general exercise, sleep, diet and stress management
We work in conjunction with your specialist healthcare team which will normally include your GP, urologist, pain specialist and psychologist. If you don’t have a healthcare team already, we work with some of the best pelvic pain caregivers in Melbourne and are happy to refer you for your overall care.