Background: A growing body of evidence suggests that physical activity and exercise may improve erectile function.
Objective: To conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis evaluating the effects of physical activity modalities and exercise on erectile function in erectile dysfunction trials.
Methods: A systematic review was conducted in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement. We searched 6 electronic databases between January 1990 and July 2016 and hand-searched reference lists for randomised controlled trials. Only patients with a diagnosis of erectile dysfunction were included. The mean differences between intervention and control groups were calculated for meta-analysis.
Results: 7 studies were eligible, including 478 participants allocated to aerobic, pelvic or combined exercise interventions. Follow-up ranged from 8 weeks to 2 years. The risk of bias in the trials was deemed moderate to high mainly due to impossible blinding of patients and personnel, as well as questionable blinding of outcome assessors. Random-effects meta-analyses were performed. Pooled data showed a statistically significant improvement in erectile function score (mean difference 3.85, 95% CI 2.33 to 5.37). A benefit was still demonstrable after a sensitivity analysis because the mean difference in International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) score ranged from 3.39 (95% CI 1.92 to 4.87) to 4.28 (95% CI 2.54 to 6.02). A benefit was also detected in short-term and long-term interventions as well as in trials evaluating physical activity and exercise alone or in addition to usual care.
Conclusions: The present study suggests that physical activity and exercise interventions improve patient-reported erectile dysfunction, particularly aerobic exercise with moderate-to-vigorous intensity.
Keywords: Exercise; Meta-analysis; Physical activity.
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