Almost 2 million outpatient visits each year in the United States are for complaints of prostatitis symptoms. About 25% of male patients who have genital and urinary complaints receive a diagnosis of prostatitis. Approximately 8.2% of men will experience prostatitis at some point in their lives.
Evidence shows that many of these symptoms may actually result from weak pelvic floor muscles. These cases will not improve with antibiotics because there is no infection present.
Do you think you may have a weak pelvic floor? Are you looking to strengthen it? Check out this guide to learn how to strengthen a weak pelvic floor.
What Is Prostatitis?
Prostatitis translates to a swelling of the prostate gland. This gland lies below the bladder in men. It produces semen and the fluid that nourishes and carries the sperm.
Prostatitis most often occurs in men under the age of 50. Several factors can cause prostatitis. If the physician suspects a bacterial infection, you will receive antibiotics.
Depending on the underlying cause of the prostatitis, the symptoms may occur over time or have a sudden onset. The symptoms may resolve on their own or with treatment. Some types, though, may last or months or keep coming back.
We treat Prostatitis often caused by chronic pain felt above the pubic bone. Pain may also occur in the penis, testicles, perineum, anus, tailbone, and low back.
In some individuals, stress can cause ongoing contractions of the pelvic muscles. This can be the cause of pelvic pain. It may also contribute to trouble urinating, defecating, ejaculating, and sitting.
Approaches to Strengthen a Weak Pelvic Floor
Several different exercises help to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. You can do these exercises at home to help decrease pain as well as bladder and sexual problems.
These exercises have long been practiced by men and women. They work to increase pelvic floor muscle strength. Do the following for this exercise:
Find the right muscles. To help you find the pelvic floor muscles, stop in the middle of urinating and tightening the muscles you use to stop from passing gas. This uses the pelvic floor muscles.
Be sure that you are not using the buttocks muscle. You should feel a lifting inside the pelvis as you tighten the muscles in the floor of the pelvis.
Once you can isolate these muscles, you can do the exercises in any position. You may find that it is easier to do them lying down at first.
Work on your technique. Practice tightening the pelvic floor muscles. Tighten and hold for 3 seconds and then relax for 3 seconds.
Do this several times in a row. As you get stronger, practice this exercise while sitting, standing, or walking.
Keep your focus. Stay focused on the exercise so that you are only using the pelvic floor muscles. If you aren’t careful, you may be using your abdomen, thighs, or buttocks.
Don’t hold your breath during the exercise. Make a conscious effort to breathe freely while doing the exercise.
Repeat the exercise 3 times a day. Try to do the exercise in 3 sets or sessions. Do 10 contractions during each set.
Tips for remembering to do Kegels. It is important to get in the habit of practicing this exercise in order to have long-term benefits. Try some of these suggestions of when to do Kegel exercises:
- While brushing your teeth
- After urinating
- During activities that put pressure on your abdomen like sneezing, coughing, laughing, or heavy lifting
If you are having difficulty performing the Kegel exercises or don’t feel like they are helping, talk with your doctor. They can reassess your symptoms and help you with different approaches to exercises.
Squeeze and Release
This exercise involves fast squeezing and releasing of the pelvic floor muscles. This teaches the pelvic floor muscles to rapidly contract. To perform this exercise:
- Sit in a comfortable position
- Think about the muscles of your pelvic floor
- Squeeze the muscles and release as fast as you can in repetition
- Rest 3 to 5 seconds
- Repeat the squeeze, release, and rest 10 to 20 times
- Repeat this exercise 3 times each day
Plan 3 times during the day when you are usually sitting to do the exercise. This will help to create a routine so that you build up your strength.
The bridge exercise mostly works to strengthen the buttocks. This exercise can also work the pelvic floor muscles. Follow these instructions:
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor
- Your feet and knees should be hip-width apart
- Place your arms along your sides with your palms down
- Tighten the buttocks and pelvic floor as you lift your buttocks several inches off the floor
- Hold the position for 3 to 8 seconds
- Relax and lower to the floor
- Repeat this exercise 10 times
This exercise should be done 3 times a day. As you become stronger, you will find that you can do more than 10 at a time.
Squats work on strengthening the buttocks and pelvic floor muscles as well. To perform proper squats, follow these directions:
- Stand with your feet flat on the floor hip-width apart
- Keep your back straight and lean a little forward
- Bend your knees and lower your buttocks toward the floor
- Only go as low as is comfortable
- Make sure that your knees stay over your toes
- You may want to hold onto something for increased balance or put your arms out in front of you
- Concentrate on tightening the buttocks and pelvic floor muscles as you stand up
- Repeat this exercise a total of 10 times
- Rest before you do more sets
Make sure that your legs and feet stay hip-width apart. Wide-legged squats don’t have the same benefit for the buttocks and pelvic floor.
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