Wed 29, May 2019
About one in three older men experience lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS). These are symptoms resulting from either bladder storage issues (urgency, nocturia, or frequency) or voiding issues (straining to urinate, a long time starting, a weak stream, or after-dribble).
Until now, the cause of these symptoms has been mainly attributed to an enlarged prostate slowing down or blocking the flow of urine as it passes through the urethra inside the prostate. But Dutch researchers at the University of Groningen suspected pelvic muscle dysfunction might also be a contributing factor.
Their study, published in the International Journal of Urology in March this year, found that pelvic floor muscle training provided men the same benefits as the alpha-blocker drug, Flomax, which is a first line treatment for LUTS. The drug works by relaxing the muscles around the prostate, thereby lessening the pressure on the urethra. However, alpha-blockers can have side-effects such as dizziness, low blood pressure and ejaculatory dysfunction.
In the study, 41 men aged 51-82 with moderate to severe symptoms were divided into two groups; the first received 0.4 mg of Flomax a day for 90 days, while the second received pelvic floor muscle training.The second group also received specific physical exercise instruction, and counselling on nutrition and urinating habits.
After 90 days, both groups had reduced their international prostate symptom scores, and both had shown an improvement in a LUTS-specific quality of life index. However, the men who received the pelvic floor muscle training had a better perception of improvement compared to those taking the drug.
Study authors said that, although pelvic floor muscle training had an effect on symptoms comparable to that of Flomax, more studies with larger groups, and the inclusion of a control group, were needed to further confirm their results.