Pelvic floor exercises can benefit men too by helping those who need to urinate frequently, study finds

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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They are usually more associated with women set to give birth but men who need to urinate frequently could benefit from pelvic floor exercises, a study has found.

Hundreds of thousands of men in the UK currently suffer from debilitating symptoms when going to the toilet including hesitancy, straining, frequent urges to urinate and issues emptying the bladder effectively.

Surgery is usually only advised for those with severe symptoms, while unpleasant side effects have been linked with the few drugs available.

Now, experts have discovered the exercises, combined with behavioural therapy delivered through a phone app, can lead to a significant improvement in symptoms – and it could even be more effective than current medical treatments.

Hundreds of thousands of men in the UK suffer from debilitating symptoms when going to the toilet including hesitancy, straining, frequent urges to urinate and issues emptying the bladder effectively (stock image)

A team from University Hospital Freiburg, in Germany, recruited 237 men aged over 18 who were suffering with varying degrees of bladder emptying disorder.

However, only half were given access to an app-based therapy.

Participants were asked to record a urination diary and complete questionnaires about the severity of their symptoms and their overall quality of life.

After 12 weeks, the trial found a significant improvement in symptoms and quality of life measures from participants given the app-based therapy, compared to those in the control group.

The study found that, crucially, the app-based therapy was more effective than medical therapy.

Professor Christian Gratzke, who co-led the trial, said: ‘Frequent urges to urinate and issues emptying the bladder are the most prevalent urinary conditions we see in men after urinary tract infections.

‘While some drugs are available, they don’t tend to be effective, and up until now there’s been little data available to back physiotherapy.

Experts have discovered that pelvic floor exercises, combined with behavioural therapy delivered through a phone app, can lead to a significant improvement in symptoms (stock image)

Experts have discovered that pelvic floor exercises, combined with behavioural therapy delivered through a phone app, can lead to a significant improvement in symptoms (stock image)

‘We’re confident that we now have that data, and making this form of therapy available digitally could be a game changer for the millions of men who struggle day-to-day with issues emptying their bladder.’

Bladder emptying disorders can start to appear from the age of 30 and typically affect a large proportion of men over 50.

Jean-Nicolas Cornu, Professor of Urology at the Charles Nicolle Hospital in France, said: ‘There has been little to no evidence to support training men to better control their bladders, despite this being recommended in clinical guidelines.

‘This is the first randomised controlled trial looking at physiotherapy and behavioural therapy for bladder emptying disorders, and it shows a very positive effect over conventional drug treatment.

‘We now need a bigger trial looking at the longer-term effect of this app-based therapy after 12 weeks for different forms of bladder emptying disorders. If offered widely, this treatment could dramatically change clinical practice, and could relieve symptoms without exposing patients to drugs.

‘We could save a lot of unnecessary prescriptions for drugs that tend to be of little benefit.’

Results of the Bladder Emptying Disorder Therapy (BEST) trial were presented at the European Association of Urology Congress in Paris.

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