Objective: To examine the role of pelvic floor exercises as a way of restoring erectile function in men with erectile dysfunction.
Patients and methods: In all, 55 men aged > 20 years who had experienced erectile dysfunction for > or = 6 months were recruited for a randomized controlled study with a cross-over arm. The men were treated with either pelvic floor muscle exercises (taught by a physiotherapist) with biofeedback and lifestyle changes (intervention group) or they were advised on lifestyle changes only (control group). Control patients who did not respond after 3 months were treated with the intervention. All men were given home exercises for a further 3 months. Outcomes were measured using the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF), anal pressure measurements and independent (blinded) assessments.
Results: After 3 months, the erectile function of men in the intervention group was significantly better than in the control group (P < 0.001). Control patients who were given the intervention also significantly improved 3 months later (P < 0.001). After 6 months, blind assessment showed that 40% of men had regained normal erectile function, 35.5% improved but 24.5% failed to improve.
Conclusion: This study suggests that pelvic floor exercises should be considered as a first-line approach for men seeking long-term resolution of their erectile dysfunction.