Prostatectomy, is the surgical removal or partial removal of the prostate gland. A common procedure for men in the United States. It is typically performed as a treatment for prostate cancer or other conditions such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). While there are many short-term and long-term benefits associated with the surgery, it can also sometimes leave men with painful and discomfiting urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction.
Recent studies have shown that pelvic floor physical therapy may be an effective way to help alleviate these issues following prostatectomy. This type of therapy focuses on strengthening the muscles of the pelvis, particularly those that support the bladder and rectum. By doing so, it helps improve urinary control, bladder emptying, and sexual functioning in men who have had a prostatectomy.
The efficacy of pelvic floor physical therapy has been demonstrated in numerous studies. In one study published in Urology Practice in 2018 researchers compared 30 men who underwent pelvic floor physical therapy after their operations to 30 other men who did not receive any form of rehabilitation. After six weeks, almost all of the patients in both groups reported having better urinary control than before their surgery.
However, greater improvement was noted among those who underwent physical therapy; they had higher scores on tests measuring urinary controllability, ejaculatory strength and frequency than those who did not undergo rehabilitation.
In another study published by Neurourology Urodynamics journal in 2014 researchers followed up with 46 out of 56 men who had undergone prostatectomies six months earlier. Of those surveyed, 41% reported improved erectile function after undergoing pelvic floor physical therapy while only 10% reported improvements without any form of rehabilitation. Those same individuals also reported improved continence scores when compared to pre-therapy assessments.
These findings offer promising evidence suggesting that pelvic floor physical therapy can be highly beneficial for men suffering from problems related to urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction after prostatectomy operations. This type of rehabilitation can help strengthen weakened pelvic muscles while improving bladder control and sexual functioning at the same time.
It is important to note however that although pelvic floor physical therapy may be an effective treatment option for some people it may not work for everyone. It is best to speak with a qualified healthcare professional about your options prior to embarking on any kind of post-prostatectomy rehabilitation program.
Additionally, research suggests that combining pelvic floor muscle training exercises with lifestyle modifications such as quitting smoking and limiting alcohol consumption may yield even better results when it comes to improving urinary leakages or restoring sexual functioning after prostatectomy operations. Speak to your doctor to see what pelvic devices can help you.