Mend Physical Therapy Blog and Injury Information

Pelvic Floor Muscle Training As A Treatment For Erectile Dysfunction

July 20, 2020


Pelvic floor muscles play an important role in sexual function for both men and women as they help increase and maintain blood flow to the genitals during sexual arousal. Both strength and motor control are important for proper muscle function anywhere in the body, including the pelvic floor. The prevalence of erectile dysfunction is unknown, but it negatively affects the mental health and wellbeing of those affected, so finding possible treatment options, particularly minimally invasive and low-risk options is important. 

A randomized controlled trial by Dorey et al. in 2004, studied the effectiveness of pelvic floor exercises and lifestyle changes, compared to lifestyle changes alone as a treatment option for erectile dysfunction. The authors of the study concluded that the men who underwent the pelvic floor muscle training protocol reported significant improvement compared to the group that was educated on lifestyle changes alone. After 3 months of performing a home exercise program with education and guidance from a physical therapist, the pelvic floor exercise group noted significant improvement in erectile function based on self-reported answers to a validated questionnaire. Of the 55 total participants in the study, 40% reported normal erectile function, 34% reported improvement, while 25% noted no improvement. It’s important to note that participants did not report significant differences in libido or quality of life between the lifestyle change group and the pelvic floor exercise group.

Key takeaway: The authors of the paper concluded that pelvic floor exercises can improve erectile function, should be considered the first line of treatment, and can be used in conjunction with other treatment options.

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