Optimizing Men’s Health: Movember, Mustaches, and the Power of Pelvic Health
By Ingrid Williams
PT, DPT, WCS
November brings with it the crisp fall air, the vibrant hue of changing leaves and, the emergence of moustaches on men’s faces! This facial hair phenomenon is not merely a quirky trend; it’s the heart of Movember, a movement that began in 2003 with two Australian men and has since grown into a global initiative. In celebration of the 20-year anniversary of “changing the face of men’s health,” let’s delve into the core of men’s well-being and explore how pelvic health physical therapy plays a vital role in optimizing men’s health.
Movember aims to raise awareness and spark conversations about three critical health issues affecting men: prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and male mental health & suicide prevention. As we celebrate this 20-year milestone, it’s essential to acknowledge the impact of Movember and its call to action for men around the world. Let’s keep this Mo-mentum growing!
Remarkably, 70% of a man’s overall health is within his control through lifestyle choices.
Movember encourages men to be proactive in their well-being, and following on these coattails are valuable prevention tips, irrespective of age or ethnicity:
- Spend time with people who make you feel good: Social, emotional, and psychological well-being are imperative for men and stand as cornerstones of a fulfilling life
- Know the numbers: 1 in 8 men in the US will be diagnosed with Prostate Cancer in their lifetime. Have a conversation with your doctor about PSA testing when you’re 50, or at 45 if you’re African American, or have a family history. Testicular cancer is the #1 cancer among young men. Yet, 62% of those at risk are unaware of how to perform self-examinations. In the US, the rate of male suicide is alarmingly high: approximately 4 in 5 suicides are men. It doesn’t have to be that way. We can all take action to live healthier, happier, and longer lives
- Know thy nuts: The good news is, it’s easy. Give them a feel every month or so – get to know what’s normal for you
- Visit the doctor: Men are likely to put off routine checkups, even when symptoms arise. According to the American Heart Association, reasons including lack of time, a sense of invincibility and a fear of examinations. Building a relationship with a primary care provider simplifies risk assessment, aids in managing existing conditions, and enhances early detection of potential health issues
- Move more: And, if you need a little help, as a pelvic health physical therapist, I’ve got your back, your pelvis….
This Movember, let’s not just focus on growing a moustache, but on growing awareness about the importance of pelvic health for men. The male pelvic floor plays a crucial role in supporting abdominal contents, coordinating contractions of urine and feces for both storage and elimination, facilitating erectile and ejaculatory processes, and core stability requisite for posture, breathing, and movement. Often overlooked, the pelvic floor is integral to men’s overall health and well-being.
Pelvic health physical therapy steps into the spotlight as a key player in optimizing men’s health. Contrary to common misconception, pelvic health is not exclusive to women. Men can benefit significantly!
- Post-surgical care, including pre & post-op for any trunk, abdominal, or pelvic procedures such as hernia repair and prostatectomy
- Symptoms of chronic prostatitis
- Persistent pelvic pain, testicular pain, penile pain
- Bladder issues (urgency, frequency, incontinence, nighttime peeing, post void dribbling, incomplete emptying)
- Bowel issues (constipation, incomplete and/or painful bowel movements, hemorrhoids, anal fissures)
- Erectile dysfunction
- Premature ejaculation
The benefits of pelvic health physical therapy are far-reaching. It serves as a comprehensive approach to restoring men to optimal health by addressing biopsychosocial factors and executing a multimodal plan of care.
Urinary incontinence, a common issue affecting 1 in 3 older men, is an area where pelvic health physical therapy makes a difference. Following radical prostatectomy, the incidence of urinary incontinence dramatically increases. Engaging in a pelvic floor physical therapy (PFPT) strengthening program yields noteworthy results: at 6 weeks post-surgery, 32% of the intervention group (those undergoing PFPT) were dry, compared to 11% in the control group. These figures increased to 74% and 43% by 12 weeks post-surgery, respectively. Encouragingly, a 6-week pre-operative pelvic floor strengthening program has demonstrated promising outcomes, substantially enhancing continence rates after surgery.
Pelvic health physical therapy can benefit men by addressing sexual dysfunction, a prevalent issue ranging from 10% to 52%. Erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation are common concerns, often associated with psychological, muscular, neurological, vascular, or a combination of factors. Erectile dysfunction, a condition that affects approximately 85% of men after a radical prostatectomy. Depression and anxiety often follow such procedures, adding to the challenges of recovery. Pelvic health physical therapy has shown promising results, with a study revealing a 75% improvement in erectile dysfunction after physical therapy treatment. For those favoring less invasive tactics before resorting to more aggressive approaches, pelvic health physical therapy provides a path to recovery with fewer side effects.
Pelvic health physical therapy is not just about addressing existing issues; it’s about preventative care and overall well-being. This involves a comprehensive pelvic floor assessment, integrating observation, musculoskeletal evaluation, and a thorough history-taking not just of the disease or ailment but of you—your goals and what you aim to regain. Armed with this information, therapists craft patient-specific interventions to meet individual needs. Patient education is pivotal, offering explanations, encouragement, support, and facilitating conversations about delicate issues.
Services provided at Pelvic & Gender Health Physical Therapy are designed for convenience and personalized care. With virtual and in-person options, concierge mobile services, next-day appointments, and direct communication with Dr. Ingrid, the focus is on making pelvic health care accessible and supportive.
In conclusion, as we embrace Movember and its mission to change the face of men’s health, let’s not overlook the significance of pelvic wellness. Pelvic health physical therapy stands as a powerful ally in optimizing men’s health, addressing issues that affect not just physical well-being but also mental and emotional health. It’s time to take action, prioritize your pelvic health, and join the Mo-ment toward healthier, happier lives.
Ready to make a move toward optimal health? Connect with Dr. Ingrid at Pelvic & Gender Health Physical Therapy to schedule a consult.
Remember, it’s right under your nose—knowledge is power, and a moustache is king when it comes to changing the face of men’s health.
Grow a mo, make a move, and do some good this Movember!
Dr. Ingrid Williams PT, DPT, WCS, a distinguished leader in pelvic health for over a decade, is a Board-Certified Women’s Clinical Specialist, and recipient of the Certificate of Achievement in Pelvic Physical Therapy. Former director of a Women’s Health Physical Therapy Residency Program, she founded Pelvic & Gender Health Physical Therapy in 2022, located in Maryland. Specializing in diverse pelvic health conditions; bladder & bowel dysfunction, gender affirming care, men’s health, oncology, pelvic pain, and women’s health. Dr. Ingrid is dedicated to restoring confidence and enhancing clients’ physical and mental well-being.