Over 30 million men suffer from prostate conditions that impact their daily life and function. Each year, over 230,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, which is why early screening and detection are so important! The prostate is a walnut sized organ found in men between the bladder and penis that produces fluid that protects sperm when ejaculation occurs. The urethra runs right through it, which is important to take notice of. If the prostate becomes enlarged (BPH), it can start to grow compressing the urethra and making urinary function a little more difficult. Think of the urethra like a garden hose, and if you kink the hose or start to squeeze it, less liquid is going to be able to escape. BPH is more likely in men ages 50 and older, causing increased urinary frequency, urgency and needing to get up at night to empty.
Prostatitis, or inflammation of the prostate, can be a driver for pelvic pain and chronic infections in some men. Prostatitis can be broken down into 4 major categories: chronic prostatitis/ chronic pelvic pain syndrome, chronic bacterial prostatitis, acute bacterial prostatitis, and asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis. Pelvic floor muscle tension can be a cause of nonbacterial prostatitis, causing muscle or nerve irritation and symptoms common to that of a UTI, yet negative cultures when tested.
Prostate cancer is another diagnosis involving the prostate, and can also impact the pelvic floor. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men, yet doesn’t seem to get that much attention. Digital rectal exams can detect size changes to the prostate, as well as PSA levels with blood work. Early detection is key, so make sure to ask your doctor when you should start screening, keeping in mind any family history, your ethnic background, and diet and smoking history. For those who undergo prostate removal, urinary leakage and erectile dysfunction are common side effects following surgery. Many factors are at play, but typically men can see an improvement in urinary leakage with consistent pelvic floor strengthening within 3-6 months after surgery.