Prostatectomy Physical Therapy

Post Prostatectomy Physical Therapy in Jacksonville, FL

Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men older than 50. Survival rates for prostate cancer are increasing thanks to early detection through PSA testing and advancements in surgical techniques and treatment, such as a prostatectomy. 

However, a prostatectomy can negatively affect your pelvic health, resulting in incontinence or erectile dysfunction. Pelvic floor physical therapy can address issues related to your pelvic floor muscle impairments.

Physical Therapy For Prostatectomy

When cancer is detected in the prostate, the benefits of prostatectomy are unquestionable. It is a life-saving procedure to remove cancer from your body, but it will also come with risks and complications, such as:

The most significant complaints after surgery are urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction. This negatively affects your quality of life and your social life. And while symptoms usually improve on their own with time, at least 8% of men continue to live with complications up to two years following surgery.

Often, men in the U.S. are not instructed to see a physical therapist until they try to Kegel (or contract their pelvic floor muscles) on their own for several months after prostate surgery. But seeking physical therapy sooner than that can improve pelvic floor function to relieve urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction. 

If you are part of the population of men still experiencing pelvic floor dysfunction, you can still receive treatment to address prostate surgery complications at any point along your journey to recovery.

The first line of defense for complications related to post-prostatectomy is pelvic floor muscle training. Physical therapy also offers the following treatments to help you quickly reach your goals:

  • Therapeutic exercise
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Biofeedback therapy
  • Bladder training
  • Lifestyle education

Education and training of your pelvic floor muscles are essential to achieve a properly functioning pelvic floor. And you can elect to start your training before and after surgery. Training for a specific performance, such as continence or erection, must include training the muscles in movements that resemble the desired action.

Our pelvic floor physical therapists are trained to treat dysfunctions related to poor pelvic floor muscle performance caused by a prostatectomy.

Pelvic Floor Exercises After Prostatectomy

Urinary incontinence is common following radical prostatectomy. There are several types of incontinence due to a poor functioning pelvic floor:

  • Stress incontinence occurs when urine leaks due to increased abdominal pressure, such as during a sneeze, cough, or lifting something heavy.
  • Urge incontinence happens when you feel the need to pee even if you do not have to go and your bladder is not full.
  • Mixed incontinence is when you experience both stress and urge incontinence simultaneously, which is why doing strengthening exercises alone does not always improve your symptoms.

Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles will help you to control your urge to urinate and hold back urine until you are ready to relieve yourself. The pelvic floor muscles are also responsible for the following:

  • Bladder stability
  • Resting urethral pressure
  • Regulation of urethral pressure during exertion 
  • Erection and maintaining erection

Your pelvic floor is made up of several muscles that you can train to help improve your symptoms. Training your pelvic floor muscles can prevent urine from dribbling or leaking on accident and increase the rigidity of your erections.

What To Expect From Physical Therapist After Prostate Surgery

Our physical therapists can address your pelvic floor muscles and design an exercise program specific to the actions you want to complete, such as maintaining continence during physical activity and sexual performance.

First, an examination will be done to determine the strength, symmetry, and tone of your pelvic floor muscles.  Examining your pelvic floor muscles includes palpating or touching your anorectal tissues and perineal body to assess your pubococcygeus muscle. The therapist will make observations of your anal contraction and penis lift. You may also need to complete a voiding diary and questionnaires regarding your symptoms to give your physical therapist a complete picture of your situation. 

Once the therapist collects enough information, they can formally develop a functional diagnosis and create an individualized pelvic floor muscle training program to help you reach your goals. We offer the best evidence-based treatments to help you improve the quality of your life by quickly recovering from incontinence and erectile dysfunction.

Your individualized program may include therapeutic exercises, stretching, and breathing exercises, all of which can help you achieve stronger and more coordinated pelvic floor muscles. 

Weak synergy, or unbalanced activation between your pelvic floor muscles and other muscles that encourage optimal core function, is believed to contribute to pelvic floor dysfunction. If your muscles do not work together correctly, or their timing is off, then all of your work will nullify the effects of exercise training.

Important muscles to address that result in synergy among your pelvic floor muscles include:

  • Transversus abdominis (stomach muscles)
  • Gluteus major (butt muscles)
  • Adductor femoris (inner thigh muscles)

Direct local trauma, such as from radical prostatectomy, can result in deficiencies in muscle recruitment whether you are experiencing pain or not.

Therapeutic exercises, stretching, and breathing exercises can help you achieve stronger and more coordinated pelvic floor muscles. These activities help improve pelvic floor strength and relaxation, which are both critical to achieving continence and proper function.

Your physical therapist will design a pelvic floor strengthening program at Smart Body Physical Therapy to promote optimal pelvic floor function. And we offer the best evidence-based treatments to help you improve the quality of your life by quickly recovering from incontinence and erectile dysfunction.

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