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Does this sound like a pelvic floor issue?

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  • Does this sound like a pelvic floor issue?

    I know I need to get this checked out to know for sure, but keen to hear others' thoughts and experiences. I have had, since I can remember, erectile dysfunction caused by excessive porn use from a young age. But my penis still worked, still felt pleasurable to the touch, I still had a functional sex life with my ex-partner but it would sometimes not go 100% hard, or go soft during intercourse.

    This is no longer the case and I'm wondering if it might be a pelvic floor issue. I started doing kegels in around 2018 then bought a Kegel 8 machine around April 2019. This involves electric pelvic floor stimulation using an anal probe. I remember it recommended to alternate between the general setting and the ED setting. The ED setting was only 15 minutes but the general setting was around an hour. I must have done around 30-40 sessions in total across both settings.

    The symptoms I have are:

    - dead feeling penis, shaft is completely numb, head is still sensitive (especially under the foreskin) but doesn't feel pleasurable, has a cold/leathery feel. There are no instances where my penis feels aroused, unlike previously where there would be times it would 'tingle' and I knew I would be able to easily achieve an erection by light touch alone.

    - small, shrivelled look to the penis - I used to have quite a good 'hang' but this has completely disappeared.

    - occasional right testicle pain, but upon touching the testicle there is actually no pain there and it must be coming from somewhere else

    - right buttock pain which I initially attributed to being a running injury but I have been running for years and never had anything like this issue before. Feels very deep inside rather than gluteal. Seems to have improved of late and hasn't been present on recent runs.

    - lower right back pain, very low down, kind of the top of the buttock but definitely distinct from the one above and has actually got worse of late - can feel it right now in fact. Again feels very deep inside

    - there are instances where I need to urinate (especially first thing in the morning) and nothing comes out, or a bit comes out then it stops, even though there is loads left to come out. Also occasional weak urine stream (but also occasions where it's totally normal). Potential very slight constipation (but only slight) and need to push out every time whereas previously I could sometimes have a bowel movement by relaxing everything

    - on the rare occasions I am able to masturbate, there is no force to the semen coming out, it's just a dribble (again, different to before)

    I remember the Kegel 8 had an instruction manual which said the user may experience erections during the stimulation - I actually found the opposite to be true and it caused my penis to shrivel up and lose sensation. Hard to believe looking back that I continued with it, I guess I thought it was muscle tiredness and a necessary step to improve my pelvic floor function (which, in truth, was probably already overactive).

    Kind of reluctant to see a doctor as, in the UK at least, they are useless with ED and just prescribe medication. Any blood test I've ever had has come back completely normal but I know things can change over time. Should I go straight to a pelvic floor physiotherapist or is having blood tests done a sensible first step?

  • #2
    I would see a Urologist and a pelvic floor physio.
    My Work

    ARTICLES:

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    • #3
      Thanks - I've decided to get some blood tests done first to rule out other issues. Over the last few days the buttock and lower back pain has gone - potentially due to starting up with bodyweight workouts again.

      So the only real symptoms are directly relating to the penis itself:
      - numb feeling and change in sensation - cold/rubbery sensation rather than warm and fuzzy
      - complete inability to get an erection and small, shrivelled appearance rather than a good hang
      - intense physical exercise causes it to go absolutely tiny and have a kind of yellow-ish appearance to the head
      - it almost feels like there's something inside which needs to be shaken out in order to get it working again - sounds strange but that's the best way I can describe it
      - rubbing it when flaccid sometimes causes a bit of blood to flow but it seems to be capped at around 25% and if anything becomes more numb at this point than when it's fully flaccid - blood quickly drains and it looks shrivelled again

      It seems a bit tenuous to think it would be pelvic floor related, but that said I can't help but draw a link with the Kegel machine. I think the sensible thing is to get the tests done first - I will see what comes out of that and go from there.

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      • #4
        You need the numbers on the hormone test pay no attention to "normal".

        Sounds like pelvic floor with posture involvement .

        A physio who does male pelvic floor is what you need and these are available in UK.

        You can sell it to the doc re the posture stuff.

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        • #5
          Saw a pelvic floor physio and he said that the symptoms are consistent with hard flaccid. He said that a lot of people report a shrivelling of the penis to the extent that it's retreating back inside the body, and that it feels disconnected from the body, which I can totally relate to. Said that it's likely due to the electronic kegel machine.

          I'm still slightly unsure because there is minimal pain (occasional testicle pain and buttock pain but not severe of frequent) and the penis is not hard when flaccid. He said that doesn't always have to be the case to be hard flaccid.

          He did an ultrasound scan of the pelvic area and I had to do various things like front/back kegels, belly breaths etc. Apparently in a normally functioning pelvic floor he would expect to see more of a difference between resting and kegeling, meaning it's potentially already contracted to an extent.

          I've been given a series of exercises based on belly breathing and a follow-up appointment at the end of the month. The belly breathing gradually increases in duration up to a max of 15 minutes, 3 times per day. I started at 5 minutes and am currently at 10, there are no improvements yet, if anything it's the worst it's ever been, but it's early days with the exercises.

          I was also advised to stop doing bodyweight exercises, I am also a keen runner and wonder if it's best to hold off on this for a while.

          Also booked in some blood tests in a couple of weeks to rule out any other causes.

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          • #6
            Follow the medical advice

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            • #7
              This completely sounds pelvic floor related. Keep up with the relaxation exercises. The kegel 8 machine threw your pelvic floor into shock, causing tension and even possibly imbalance.

              You never slow down, you never grow old!

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              • #8
                Blood test results are back, everything completely normal and testosterone actually slightly above the normal range at 31 nmol/L (894 ng/dL), which just seems totally ridiculous as I have no libido and cannot get an erection. Free T4 (thyroid) is at the lower end of the scale but still within normal limits.

                Had a follow up appointment with the pelvic floor physio who did an internal exam and said that everything was very tight in there and the muscles were very slow to relax after kegeling.

                At this point, despite the absence of any pelvic pain, it does seem that this is pelvic floor related. The current symptoms are mostly penile-related and three associated symptoms:
                - small flaccid length, sometimes with a stumpy, bell-like shape and slightly firmer (but not hard). I remember my penis used to hang to the right in my underwear, now it doesn't hang anywhere as it's not long enough.
                - more shiny appearance to the lower glans (I used to only get a shiny glans when it was 100% erect), and a kind of leathery look to the glans overall when pinched
                - lack of pleasurable sensation when touching the penis, has a rubbery feel and no warm/tingling sensation
                - occasional very mild penile pain at the upper back part
                - first thing in the morning am often unable to empty the bladder, stops at 60% or so so need to go again soon after. Not a problem at other times of day
                - mild pain/tightness in right buttock and sometimes right lower back
                - occasional flutter (best word I can think of) in the pelvic area, presumably a spasm but I always expected a spasm to be painful

                Continuing with the belly breathing (3 sets of 15 mins) and RKs (2 sets of 10 reps) but no improvements have been seen. Physio has mentioned the possibility of using a wand but states that this is normally used where there is pain. I'm starting to take daily microdoses of cialis because I cannot mentally deal with the terrible state my penis is in any more, and the anxiety of that won't be helping the overall situation.

                I'm also wondering whether I should take a break from running - I run at least twice a week for around 45 minutes and have been reading that this may put pressure on the pelvic floor.
                Last edited by zmark86; 05-12-2021, 01:18 PM.

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                • #9
                  I have called some docs overpaid idiots . Yet it seems to me you are geting good medical advice and should follow it .

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                  • #10
                    I've been taking the 2.5mg cialis for about a week, it has meant that I'm able to get erections but they're still often not fully hard and there is no return of pleasurable sensation - it's like jerking my index finger, just totally neutral. Going to increase to the 5mg dose and see what that does.

                    I've seen a few posts about piriformis syndrome and am going to ask my physio about this - it does match with the buttock pain and associated lower back pain I sometimes get. Purely speculation on my part but I wonder if the buttock pain is caused by the piriformis muscle and the right lower back pain is the sciatic nerve - it does feel like nerve pain but then I'm no expert. This was potentially caused by running in ill-fitting running shoes from early 2020, I first noticed the pain in the outer upper thigh/hip region then it seemed to migrate inwards. The onset of pain and the change in penile sensation were roughly contemporaneous.

                    Also noticed recently the terrible condition of the glans - I mentioned above that it was more shiny (especially in semi-erect states) but I also found peeling skin and just generally a terrible feel to it. I'm doing a week's course of hydrocortisone cream on the lower glans as a result - I don't really want to use it on such a sensitive part of the body but couldn't just leave things the way they were.

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                    • #11
                      So diligently doing belly breathing, deep squats etc as instructed by the physio has done absolutely nothing. I also bought a wand which was a waste of £60.

                      My last option, which I've just started, is to do a program of resistance stretching to address underlying muscle tension. I've noticed that my hamstrings are ridiculously tight to the point that I struggle to walk without a limp. How long this has been the case I have no idea, it's amazing what the brain will just fail to notice, now I have noticed it it's bleedingly obvious. Hamstring tightness is accompanied by sharp glute pain, tight right hip, occasional tight left achilles tendon and general lower back tightness.

                      I attribute all of the symptoms to doing Crossfit for a 4 month period in late 2017. I have always been physically quite weak (good at cardio but not strength-based exercise). I feel that doing these unbelievably intense exercises including back squatting 1.5x my body weight when my body wasn't ready, has ultimately led to this chronic tension which has spread to the pelvic floor. After the most brutal sessions I would wake up the next morning unable to put my socks on, and by the end I was unable to squat down to look at books on the bottom shelf for instance, due to unbearable knee pain. I have done a timeline of symptoms and every single notable deterioration takes place after Crossfit.

                      My mental health has taken a bit of a battering due to this and I'm just about clinging on. I'm finding I'm not making an effort to make myself look good and am just feeling a sense of hopelessness due to the fact that I can't date anyone whilst this situation persists and am at the stage in life where I don't want to be single. It's also a mental burden having to witness my own penis in this condition. Hopefully I can confide in a friend at some point, but it's just such a weird thing to tell someone.

                      If anyone has similar physical symptoms and would like more information about the resistance stretching program, feel free to PM me. It can take 6-9 months for recovery and I'm 1 week in, so I'm going to have to be strong for a little while longer.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by zmark86 View Post
                        So diligently doing belly breathing, deep squats etc as instructed by the physio has done absolutely nothing. I also bought a wand which was a waste of £60.

                        My last option, which I've just started, is to do a program of resistance stretching to address underlying muscle tension. I've noticed that my hamstrings are ridiculously tight to the point that I struggle to walk without a limp. How long this has been the case I have no idea, it's amazing what the brain will just fail to notice, now I have noticed it it's bleedingly obvious. Hamstring tightness is accompanied by sharp glute pain, tight right hip, occasional tight left achilles tendon and general lower back tightness.

                        I attribute all of the symptoms to doing Crossfit for a 4 month period in late 2017. I have always been physically quite weak (good at cardio but not strength-based exercise). I feel that doing these unbelievably intense exercises including back squatting 1.5x my body weight when my body wasn't ready, has ultimately led to this chronic tension which has spread to the pelvic floor. After the most brutal sessions I would wake up the next morning unable to put my socks on, and by the end I was unable to squat down to look at books on the bottom shelf for instance, due to unbearable knee pain. I have done a timeline of symptoms and every single notable deterioration takes place after Crossfit.

                        My mental health has taken a bit of a battering due to this and I'm just about clinging on. I'm finding I'm not making an effort to make myself look good and am just feeling a sense of hopelessness due to the fact that I can't date anyone whilst this situation persists and am at the stage in life where I don't want to be single. It's also a mental burden having to witness my own penis in this condition. Hopefully I can confide in a friend at some point, but it's just such a weird thing to tell someone.

                        If anyone has similar physical symptoms and would like more information about the resistance stretching program, feel free to PM me. It can take 6-9 months for recovery and I'm 1 week in, so I'm going to have to be strong for a little while longer.
                        Anxiety can be directly causal so first thing control that.
                        Start a log /progress thread .
                        There is a thread on stretching in the stickies of the pre e forum.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Are you masturbating? Any time you ejaculate you are reaggravating the injury

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Pegasus View Post
                            Anxiety can be directly causal so first thing control that.
                            Start a log /progress thread .
                            There is a thread on stretching in the stickies of the pre e forum.
                            It's a good point and something that I need to bear in mind. Ultimately I need to reframe my thoughts into something positive - there's every chance that I have stumbled upon the root cause of the issue now that I've acknowledged the issues with the hamstrings, glutes and lower back. Numerous people who have done this particular resistance stretching program have recovered, so I need to see myself as being in a recovery phase, which is a lot better than having a dead penis and no idea what's caused it.I need to get my brain out of it's catastrophising state where it thinks "what if it doesn't work? Then what?". That said, I don't believe anxiety is directly causal in my case, but anxiety certainly won't help matters.

                            Originally posted by theisland View Post
                            Are you masturbating? Any time you ejaculate you are reaggravating the injury
                            Not as of the last 2 weeks, and I intend to continue with this abstinence indefinitely. Erections are pretty much impossible currently (and 100% impossible when standing up), I think I was just finding a way to masturbate previously to make myself feel better, often with a 60% or so erection, but I agree it's counter-productive. When I was masturbating I noticed several other symptoms such as reduced semen volume and projection, as well as delayed ejaculation (due to the complete lack of sensation). Weirdly, orgasm sensation was completely normal. But yes, I won't be masturbating until further notice.
                            Last edited by zmark86; 07-24-2021, 04:22 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Tell me more abou your treatment with the physio I am astounded she did not treat the muscle tension.
                              Last edited by Pegasus; 07-24-2021, 08:46 PM.

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