Let me tell you about my soccer-playin' husband's pelvic-health history.
Husband: "In high school I started getting deep hip and low back pain. I went to the doctor, who gave me an X-ray, which led him to conclude that there was a tendon rubbing across the bone of the pelvis. Looking back with what I know now, it was probably the psoas tendon. I kept playing by finding a new way to move. Then, when I was nineteen, what were the symptoms that made me go in? I felt like I needed to go poop all the time, though I didn't need to poop. Just a real heavy pressure all the time. I felt it was anus related, or colon-related, I didn't think it was the prostate."
Katy: "Did you even know what a prostate was?"
Husband: "Nope. So I went to the doctor and he stuck his finger in my butt and said that I had a prostate infection. He gave me some medicine and it went away.
Katy: "Anything else in your prostate history?"
Husband: "When I was a pre-teen, I noticed that sometimes if I peed right after ejaculating it would burn severely. I learned how to tense certain muscles to decrease the pain. I guess I just learned to tense those muscles all the time. Are you going to write that?"
Katy: "Of course I'm going to write that. Does it suck being married to me? With respect to the blog, I mean?"
Husband: "Yes. Actually now that I think of it, I also had persistent lower back pain and pelvic pain I chalked up to years of competitive soccer. I never used any other muscle in my pelvic area except my psoas. Until I met you."
Katy: "That sounds suggestive."
Husband: "I meant, until I met you and took your alignment course. It all made sense after that and my body didn't hurt for the first time in decades."
Here's a letter from a different man in my in-box:
It came on when I was 21 out of no where. I'm 28 now. I went through all the motions, all the docs seem to follow the same order. First it was the anti's, Doxi, Cipro etc. Even stayed on Cipro for months. They tried bladder muscle relaxers.
Then all the tests, Pelvic MRI, Bladder CAT scan, Camera up the Urethra, Rectal Prostate Ultrasound. Blood/urine test, urine flow tests. I probably have been to 9 different urologists, a disease infectious doc, and a holistic center in NYC.
It all started in my senior year at college, I had unprotected sex and really two weeks after I felt a pain at the tip and then the bladder issues started and went on from there. Although I told every doctor this they could not connect the two and kept saying it was prostate inflammation or prostatitis.
I really have two issues and the first is hit or miss after ejaculating (not during). The pain can be burning, and I really have to wait at least 30min before urinating or it could result in the worst burning ever. It feels like I am peeing barbed-wire out. Things that seem to help during an attack is jumping in a hot shower and slowly working the urine out.
The 2nd is every day I feel a slight burning in the bladder and the urethra is always tender. Additionally the bladder wont empty completely either. I have noticed a spasm in the anus area as well. I noticed too if I strain to go to the bathroom it can effect everything. One thing is that its been 7 years and they are not as severe as they use to be.
- Antibiotic specifically Cipro for 6 months. It did nothing.
- Flomax. Did not help.
- Flagry. It's another anti. Did not work.
- Shower after. Feels better but it does not solve the problem.
Tests I had:
- Trans-rectal ultra sound of prostate before and after ejaculation. They did not find anything unusual.
- Various urine flow tests. Nothing really there either.
- CT scan of bladder. Nothing found.
- MRI of pelvis. Nothing found.
- MRI of lower back. I do have a bulge in a disc but still going that route to see if that's something.
- Scope the inside of penis. Didn't find any stones or blockage.
- Various does of Advil. Nothing to note.
- Ph of the stomach by swallowing a pill that measures how fast I digested.
- Colonoscopy. Needed this for another reason but they didn't see anything related to this problem.
Most recently I visited a different urologist where he did another scope and nothing was found (7 years later). He suggest Tranxane (anxiety med) for 6 weeks to relax the area. I'm not crazy about that.
I get about 20 letters like this a month, all of them from men under the age of 35.
It doesn't take a super-large literature review to find that the problem of young men and chronic pelvic pain/pain with ejaculation/pain with intercourse/erectile dysfunction -- not associated with bacteria -- is becoming more widespread. Research points repeatedly to pelvic floor hypertonicity (tension in the t'aint) and to chronic stress and/or anxiety. Of course, which came (HAHAHA) first, the anxiety or the burning pee? Who knows. This hypertonicity is why an anxiety medication is commonly prescribed for both men and women with pelvic floor issues.
What is also apparent is, pelvic floor issues don't come on suddenly. Rather there are tiny things that seem unrelated, over time, that are all variables in the process of creating the perfect storm of a prostate issue. There are hypertonic muscles that develop in response to emotional stress and then there are hypertonic muscles that develop in response to movement patters -- like a lifetime of soccer or cycling, for example.
Do you have a tendency for hypertonic muscles? Use this video to check your ability to relax the fronts of your thighs.
If your knee caps don't move, then they're locked in the "Up" position. What's locking them "Up?" You are. I don't know why you're doing this. It could be from years of standing a certain way. It could be a reflexive action, due to the constant bombardment of stress. It could be motor-programs established for sports. Knowing why you're tensing isn't as important as knowing that your're tensing. Once you're aware of the tension you can learn to shut tension off, mindfully. Practice until relaxation comes naturally.
Turning off hypertonic on the fronts of your legs is easier than turning off your pelvic floor because you can see your quads. You can only see your pelvic floor "in your mind". Try applying the same "quad release" to the area between your penis and tail bone. The medical community calls this area the perineum, but I (and other classy people) call it the t'aint. Cuz it t'aint your penis and it t'aint your anus.
"You're a debutante, Katy," said nobody, ever.
Here are some articles that I've written on a hypertonic pelvic floor as well as Men's health in general. I hope you find them them helpful.
A Too Tight Pelvic Floor <---- This explains more about the mechanism of hypertonicity.
A Too Tight Pelvic Floor 2 <---- Here's a list of risk factors, plus a note from my dad.
Low Hanging Fruit <------ Is your cremaster muscle working overtime to hike up the boys?
Eyes (and Meatus) Open <---- How is your orifice geometry? Check out your pee stream for prostate insight.
Men Have Pelves Too <----- It's true!
I typically write for women because I am a woman. And it's hard (HAHAHA) to write about penises when you don't have one. Or rather, I believe a man would like to hear information about his penis from a man. But, I feel compelled to write this because it appears that there aren't any men out there writing it down for you. Which isn't really true. Read this to point to a couple resources written by men: for treatment (Dr. David Wise's A Headache in the Pelvis) and to not feel like you're going mad being referred from treatment to treatment (Teach Us to Sit Still by Tim Parks).
You can also read:
More on Dr. Wise's point-of view on prostatitis here (click).
I'm presenting a (free!) online lecture on this topic called The Painful Pelvis, the Paleo Pelvis and Sex at Underground Wellness' SexyBack Summit next week. I'll be talking more about certain types of fitness-exercise (treadmill use, bicycles) and the pelvis, how to use your pee-stream (men) as a bio-indicator, and how to deal with pelvic pain in the bedroom. There are also a ton of other presentations on natural ways to get your mojo back. You can check out the line up and register by clicking (here).
CONTEST! Research shows that men don't talk about PFD with others. To help spread the information, post this article saying something like "Don't lose your Mojo to a Painful Pelvis!" to your Facebook or Twitter account tagging @AlignedandWell. Come back here to comment that you shared. I'll draw a random number from the comments below Monday, May 20th. The winner will get a copy of my Below The Belt for Men DVD.
P.S. I just added a Men's Health section and I'll be adding writing more on this topic as well as others. Next up: HOW does chronic perineum tension irritate the prostate.
P.P.S. This post is dedicated to my husband who, never once was under the illusion he was marrying a debutante.