Male Pelvic Pain: What do you know?

Most pelvic rehabilitation providers begin working with female patients. Regardless of a therapist's interest in or comfort level with working with male pelvic rehabilitation issues, these same therapists find themselves sitting across from a male patient who is desperate for relief from symptoms. What happens next? The therapist extrapolates what she has learned about female pelvic floor dysfunction, applies that information, and is often successful in offering effective solutions. The concern with that approach is this: while there are similarities in anatomy and function, the differences require knowledge and skills specific to the male population.

Most pelvic rehab providers have taken several courses specific to female pelvic dysfunction, and can easily discuss diagnoses such as vaginismus, dyspareunia, dysmenorrhea, or surgeries for prolapse. Thinking back to our schooling, we commonly had not learned evaluation or intervention strategies specific to those conditions. If we apply the same thinking to male patients, what were you taught about hernia repair, scrotal pain, ejaculatory dysfunction? While applying what we know about female conditions when treating men is a good start, filling in the gaps in knowledge and adding tools to our ever-growing toolbox is critical in providing expert care.

One way to fill in the gaps is to attend the Male Pelvic Floor course offered by the Pelvic Rehabilitation Institute. The course offers detailed information about urinary incontinence (including post-prostatectomy rehabilitation), sexual dysfunction, and many topics related to male pelvic pain. Conditions you can learn about include epididymitis, testalgia, benign prostatic hypertrophy, transurethral resection of the prostate, erectile dysfunction, and many more. The lectures include several anatomy lectures to help providers understand the functional relationships of the structures to urinary, bowel, and sexual health. The next opportunity to take the course is next month in Minneapolis. I just noticed the leaves starting to change this morning- September in Minnesota is beautiful, and we would love to see you there!

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