Growing numbers of young men who must sit in front of work computers every day are developing difficulties in their pelvis which can lead to problems in the bedroom, a conference was told yesterday.
The symptoms can involve an urgent need to go to the toilet, frequent urination, pain and erectile dysfunction, according to Dublin physiotherapist Maeve Whelan.
"We are seeing it in men in their twenties, thirties and forties. The younger age group comes from the era of iPads and iPhones and now they are at work on screens," she told the annual conference of the Irish Association of Physiotherapists in Galway.
In her own practice in Milltown, Dublin, she has seen a surge in young men with pelvic pain who must spend hours at a computer or workscreen.
"I am worried as I see more of them coming through now. I am worried about adolescents. It is getting worse and worse."
In 2005, her practice got 168 pelvic patient referrals but this year it has increased to 991.
She revealed it is also affecting young women and not just those who have had children.
She described how in men: "The underlying problems are coming from added physical stress of being at work stations where they are holding their bodies wrong with poor slumped postures and holding themselves with tension in the wrong places.
"As a result, muscles are not working properly. Long-term, muscles in the stressed areas are shortening [which is] developing more trigger points and damaging muscle bands in the back and shoulders leading to nerve change, [which is] heightening severe pain."
She added: "Cores are weakened as a result, leading to more urgency and frequency in urinary problems" and there can be "catastrophisation" where they see a problem bigger than it is.
Women can suffer hormonal overload, which tends to lead to urinary tract infections.
She told the conference that treatment involves scrutiny of seating in the workplace. Physiotherapists work on pelvic floor muscles as well .
"We do identify where restrictions and trigger points are internally. We work on where they are holding and how they can release their pelvic floor muscles themselves."
The sufferer will be taught breathing techniques and asked to overhaul their lifestyle.
Some men can suffer for years and have been to see a urologist specialist in the belief they have prostatitis, an inflammation of the prostate gland.
They can go around the block and take antibiotics only to find they are no help, while the condition deteriorates.