Men’s health Q&A
For Men’s Health Week, 15 to 21 June 2020, the National Continence Helpline 1800 33 00 66 is answering questions around men’s bladder, bowel and pelvic health.
I experienced urinary leakage after prostate surgery and have been following what my health professionals told me about pelvic floor exercises. How do I know that they’re working?
There are some positive signs of progress that you can look out for. These include:
- Using fewer incontinence pads
- Getting up less than two times a night and remaining dry
- Being dry in the early part of the day
- Being dry all day
- Not leaking when you cough, sneeze, laugh or lift
- Being dry with sport and exercise.
Even if you find you don’t experience leakage anymore, you may not regain your pre-surgery pelvic floor strength. It is important that you keep exercising your pelvic floor for life.
Do physiotherapists treat men with bladder, bowel and pelvic health issues?
Absolutely, physiotherapists treat a range of clients. Continence and Men’s Health or Pelvic Floor Physiotherapists specialise in this area. Phone the National Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66 to help find a suitable health professional that meets your needs. Our online service provider directory can also be found at continence.org.au.
I leak urine right after I’ve finished urinating at the toilet. Why does this happen and how can I stop it?
This is called after-dribble or postmicturition dribble. It occurs when the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the penis) is not completely emptied. It is due to the muscles around the urethra not contracting (moving) properly. This stops the bladder from fully emptying.
Take some big belly breaths to encourage relaxation of the pelvic floor muscles while urinating. Be patient and allow a little longer to allow the urine to drain.
There are different things you can try to minimise after-dribble:
- Place your fingertips (three fingers wide) behind your scrotum. Apply gentle pressure or press gently upwards and forwards. This is to encourage the flow of urine along and down the urethra. Then, shake or squeeze the penis in the usual way. Repeat this movement twice to make sure the urethra is completely empty.
- After you have finished urinating, perform two to three strong contractions of your pelvic floor muscles. You may need to speak with a pelvic physiotherapist to teach you how to correctly perform this exercise.
- See if sitting down on the toilet to empty your bladder helps. If you experience after-dribble along with other urinary symptoms, then it is important you seek professional help.
This story was first published in Bridge magazine.
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