Understanding the Role of Physical Therapy for Male Sexual Dysfunction
For men struggling with erectile dysfunction, pelvic floor physical therapy is not the first place men will seek help. Often, this is because there is a lack of awareness on the role that a pelvic floor physical therapist can play in helping to improve erectile dysfunction. Sexual dysfunctions in men tend to increase with age secondary to many factors that can contribute such as cardiovascular issues, cancers, and loss of muscle strength. Physical Therapists are not trained to treat all aspects of male sexual dysfunction, but we do play a vital role in addressing the musculoskeletal components that would contribute to sexual dysfunction in males.
Did you know?
- Pelvic Floor muscle training in males has been shown to cause positive effects on penile rigidity in men with erectile dysfunction.
- Pelvic floor muscles assist in coordinating ejaculation, and a pelvic floor physical therapist can use tools such as biofeedback to improve your pelvic floor muscle coordination.
- Pelvic floor physical therapy can have positive effects on the ability to have control over premature ejaculation.
- The most superficial layer of the male pelvic floor muscles: the bulbospongiosis, ischiocavernosus, and the superficial transverse perineal are vital for urination, continence, and ejaculation. Having coordinated and strong pelvic floor muscles can help optimize your sexual health.
- Increased pelvic floor resting tone can highly contribute to erectile dysfunction by limiting arterial blood flow. Pelvic floor physical therapists can work on muscular restrictions you may have to normalize your pelvic floor muscle tone and teach you ways to relax your pelvic floor muscles.
- Chronic constipation and straining to pass a bowel movement can cause excessive stress to your pelvic floor muscles and contribute to sexual dysfunction.
Participating in pelvic floor physical therapy can seem overwhelming at first, but treatment always goes at a pace that is comfortable for the patient. There are also many external tools and techniques that a pelvic floor physical therapist can teach you to help put you on the right path to improving your pelvic floor muscle health. Activities such as even guiding a patient in a walking program for improved cardiovascular health have been shown to help erectile dysfunction in males. Internal assessments are always done in a private room with the pelvic area being appropriately covered and are only done when patients feel comfortable and ready. Learn to empower yourself by learning tools to help out with your pain and issues under the guidance of a physical therapist specialized in pelvic floor rehab.
Andrea Wood PT, DPT, PRPC
Cohen D, Gonzalez J, Goldstein I. The role of pelvic floor muscles in male sexual dysfunction and pelvic pain. Sex Med Rev. 2016; 4:53-62
Rosenbaum TY. Pelvic floor involvement in male and female sexual dysfunction and the role of pelvic floor rehabilitation in treatment: a literature review. J Sex Med. 2007; 4:4.