The pelvic floor muscles may be invisible, and are often forgotten, but they play a huge role in men’s health and wellbeing. Even better, they can be exercised anywhere at any time.
The Continence Foundation of Australia, the peak body promoting bladder and bowel control health, recently launched a campaign to convince men not to neglect these all-important muscles, ahead of World Continence Week from Monday 20 to Sunday 26 June 2022.
Continence Foundation of Australia CEO Rowan Cockerell says too many men assume pelvic floor muscle exercises are just for women who had given birth.
‘Men will do bicep curls and pushups until the cows come home but neglect the very muscles which are so important for their long-term health and enjoyment of life and sex,’ she said.
‘A strong pelvic floor promotes excellent bladder and bowel control, improves sexual function and helps with recovery after prostate surgery.’
Ms Cockerell says pelvic floor muscle exercises can be done anywhere, anytime, without anyone even knowing a person is doing them.
‘And it’s not just for older men either,’ she said. ‘Our data shows 1.36 million Australian men experience continence concerns, and more than a third are aged under 50.’
As well as helping with continence concerns, studies show that pelvic floor muscle exercises can also help men overcome sexual issues including erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation.
Alongside the campaign to help Aussie men strengthen and maintain their pelvic floors, the Continence Foundation is calling for more incontinence product disposal bins in men’s toilet facilities, through its BINS4Blokes campaign.
While women’s toilets are well-served with sanitary disposal bins, men with continence concerns often find themselves with no options.
‘We know anecdotally that men who rely on continence products can be reluctant to socialise outside the home because venues like footy grounds, gyms, restaurants and shopping malls so often lack the facilities they need to dispose of their used items in a dignified and discreet way,’ said Ms Cockerell.
The BINS4Blokes campaign aims to have the installation of disposal bins in men’s bathroom facilities included in the relevant Standards and Codes of Practice. As well as improving the lives of men with continence concerns, the addition of bins would also vastly reduce the number of products being disposed of incorrectly.
By the numbers
- 1.36 million Australian men are living with some form of incontinence – that’s one in ten.
- 50 per cent avoid situations where there isn’t easy access to a toilet.
- 28 per cent avoid socialising except with close family and friends.
- Over five million Australians are affected by incontinence
- In 2010, the total economic cost of incontinence was estimated to be $66.7 billion and rising.
The Continence Foundation of Australia says the majority of people affected by incontinence can be treated, better managed or even cured.
People seeking help should, ask a GP, call the free National Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66, or visit continence.org.au.