Updated: Aug 10
A lot of pelvic rehab is focused around supporting women or AFAB (assigned female at birth) people, so it’s easy to make the assumption that pelvic floor therapy is just for folks with vaginas. Although pelvic floor therapy can support people with endometriosis, vaginismus, as well as pregnancy and postpartum related issues, pelvic rehab also supports AMAB (assigned male at birth) people.
Why might an AMAB person see a pelvic floor therapist? Do AMAB people even have a pelvic floor?
Everyone has a pelvic floor! As a reminder, the pelvic floor muscles are situated within the bottom of your pelvic bowl, and assist in urination, defecation, sexual satisfaction, and supporting your pelvic organs. If you’re assigned male at birth, you might seek out pelvic floor therapy for a variety of reasons, including, but not limited to:
Maybe you’re experiencing sudden increased urgency to urinate that’s disrupting your daily routines and ability to concentrate at work. Or you’re noticing some difficulty in initiating your stream when you do feel you have to go to the bathroom. Maybe you’re having some difficulties in staying leak free as you get old, or post medical interventions like surgery, radiation, or prostatectomy.
Many people don’t realize that pelvic floor therapy can help with GI related dysfunction, including chronic IBS, constipation, and fecal incontinence. Additionally, pelvic floor therapy can provide management strategies for rectal prolapse and hemorrhoids.
Pelvic Pain and Prostatitis
Have you been experiencing consistent pelvic pain, and your doctor diagnosed you with prostatitis, but nothing seems to be making it any better? Maybe you had a bad tailbone injury a few years prior that never seemed to heal, and an increase in stressful events in your life has led to feelings of tightness, restriction or discomfort when sitting or trying to pass stool. Other possible diagnoses that pelvic floor therapy could address would be pudendal neuralgia, or interstitial cystitis. Through an individualized plan, pelvic floor therapy can help address pelvic pain and support you in returning to the activities you enjoy.
Sexual Health Challenges
Men or people who are assigned male at birth (AMAB) can experience sexual health challenges just as women or people who are assigned female at birth (AFAB) do. When you’re experiencing pain with orgasm, or erectile dysfunction, it can impact your confidence and sense of intimacy with your partner. Pelvic floor therapy can help address these issues from a shame-free, holistic perspective.
What are some of the barriers AMAB folks might encounter when trying to access pelvic floor therapy?
Shame and lack of community
Many heterosexual cisgender men may find it hard to connect with other men around pelvic pain, urinary or stool related issues, or sexual health challenges. They may fear stigma, disapproval, or embarrassment. Shame and lack of social support can prevent cis men from seeking out support, or even knowing how and what supports are available to them. Nonbinary AMAB people and trans women may face even more barriers to care due to discrimination and community isolation.
Lack of skilled practitioners
Because a lot of pelvic health rehab has focused on cisgender women, AMAB people may find that some clinics might not feel equipped to treat AMAB folks/people with penises. It’s important that continuing education for all sexes and genders be widely. accessible and available
Seeking out care
At Embrace Pelvic Health, we believe that everyone deserves quality pelvic health rehab, regardless of sex or gender. As an AMAB person, you can gain support for your specific challenges by working with one of our highly trained clinicians on issues of pelvic pain, urinary and GI dysfunction, or pelvic health related issues. We hope to hear from you soon.
If you are interested in how Embrace can help you navigate your pelvic health, book an appointment with us!
This article was written by Mirah Sand OTR/L. They are a pelvic floor occupational therapist who is certified Pregnancy and Postpartum Corrective Exercise Specialist, and
has received advanced pelvic health training through Herman and
Wallace Pelvic Rehabilitation Institute.