Prostate Cancer: is the most common cancer in men with over 20,000 men in Australia being diagnosed annually. The treatment for prostate cancer may include surgery, radiation and hormonal therapy (androgen deprivation therapy ADT). The side effects of treatment may include urinary incontinence, erectile dysfunction, other urinary issues such as urgency and frequency. Research has shown that men who undertake pelvic floor training 4 weeks prior to having their prostate removed, are more likely to be dry within 3 months of having surgery.
Incontinence is one of our biggest health issues, affecting one in four Australians over the age of 15 years. An estimated 30 per cent of men who visit the GP are affected by incontinence, yet more than two thirds do not discuss the issue. This is despite the fact that the majority of people can be cured or better managed.
An estimated 70% of men will suffer urinary incontinence after prostate surgery, which can be cured with pelvic floor training. Other treatments may include short term use of penile clamps, bladder training, surgery such as a sling procedure or artificial urinary sphincter if leaking is severe and persistent.
Erectile dysfunction, the inability to get or keep an erection, is very common in men. An estimated 1 in 5 men over the age of 40 has erectile problems. It is also estimated that 68-99% of men who have surgery for prostate cancer will experience erectile dysfunction(ED). Once again pelvic floor muscle training has been shown to improve ED. Other treatments for Ed may include medications, use of a vacuum pump and injections.
Pelvic Pain: a condition that is not uncommon in men, but rarely discussed and may go untreated for many years. It includes pain anywhere within the pelvic region and presents with a wide range of different symptoms for a variety of different reasons. Sometimes the pain starts after an injury, sometimes after a period of severe stress, or sometimes with no known cause.
Hormonal therapy side effects: for some men treatment of prostate cancer includes taking hormonal medication (Androgen Deprivation Therapy or ADT) which can cause a number of side effects including weight gain, decreased libido, hot flushes, low mood and decreased bone density. If exercise were a pill every man on ADT would be prescribed this pill. Exercise is crucial in preventing the side effects of ADT and in particular resistance training will have a beneficial effect on bone density, weight gain, muscle mass and strength.