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Erectile dysfunction (ED) can be a major source of frustration for men. Luckily, it’s a treatable one.
From medications like sildenafil (Viagra) to psychological ED treatments, there are a variety of options for treating the effects of erectile dysfunction and improving your sexual performance.
There’s also an aspect of ED treatment that’s less visible than medication: exercise. Like the body’s other muscle groups, the pelvic floor muscles that surround your penis can be trained and strengthened, potentially improving your sexual performance and erection quality.
In this guide, we’ll look at the most common erectile dysfunction exercises and the effects they can have on your erection quality, sexual performance and overall quality of life. We’ll also look at some of the scientific study data exploring the efficacy of ED exercises for men.
Erectile Dysfunction Exercises: The Science
Although there’s less science on the use of exercises than medication for treating ED, there are several studies that look at the effects of pelvic floor exercises for men.
One study from 2005 involved 55 men aged 20 years of age or older, all of whom had suffered from some form of ED for at least six months. The men were split into groups, one of which was instructed to perform pelvic floor exercises and make lifestyle changes; the other, to only make lifestyle changes.
The pelvic floor exercises were taught by a physiotherapist, and men were instructed to perform them on a regular basis over the course of the study.
After three months, the men treated with a combination of pelvic floor exercises and changes to their lifestyles had a significantly greater rate of recovery than participants in the control group, suggesting that erectile dysfunction exercises could be an effective treatment for ED.
Beyond specific pelvic exercises, any form of aerobic exercise can potentially improve erection quality. One study from 2011 closely links aerobic exercise (such as running, cycling or rowing) with improvements in erection quality and a reduction in ED symptoms.
In short, erectile dysfunction exercises do work, and exercise in any form is likely to help reduce the negative effects of ED. The more active you are, and the better conditioned your pelvic floor muscles are, the more likely it is you’ll be able to improve your erection quality.
How Do Pelvic Floor Exercises Work?
The pelvic muscles surround the base of the penis and testes. While most of us associate pelvic floor exercises (also known as “kegel exercises”) with women, men also benefit from training the pelvic floor muscles for extra strength and control.
Although you may not notice it, you use your pelvic floor muscles frequently over the course of the day. When you pee, you relax your pelvic floor muscles, only to clench them as you finish to reduce to stop the flow of urine. The pelvic floor muscles also help to control your bowels.
Sample Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises for Men
Exercising the pelvic floor muscles is a relatively simple process. You won’t need any special equipment, nor will you need to train your muscles intensely. For most men, a few minutes of daily pelvic floor exercises can, over the course of several months, help to treat ED.
- Start by identifying your pelvic floor muscles. You can do this by tensing your muscles as you would if you were trying to stop yourself from peeing. When you squeeze your pelvic floor muscles, you’ll feel the muscles “lift” into your torso and tighten up your entire pelvic area.
- Hold the squeezing motion and count to eight. Once you reach a count of eight, you can relax your pelvic floor muscles. Give yourself an eight-second rest, then repeat the exercise, again counting to eight.
- Repeat this process until you’ve squeezed and released the muscles eight to ten times, then take a rest for a minute or two. Most experts recommend repeating this process for three sets of eight to ten motions, with a short break in between each set.
Since pelvic exercises are simple and don’t require any equipment, you can do them while you watch TV, read a book or use the computer. On average, it should only take a few minutes per day to complete a full set of pelvic floor exercises.
Can Pelvic Floor Exercises Cure Erectile Dysfunction?
The science shows that pelvic floor exercises can have a positive impact on your ability to get and sustain an erection. However, you shouldn’t think of pelvic exercises as a 100% cure for ED.
Erectile dysfunction can occur for a variety of reasons, from physical (high blood pressure, age or hormonal issues) to psychological. Most of the time, pelvic floor exercises can be one part of an effective ED treatment, along with other treatment options such as ED medication.
As well as potentially improving your erection quality, pelvic floor exercises can have a variety of other benefits. Many men report better bladder control after implementing pelvic floor exercises into their daily routine; some even report more intense orgasms.
Since pelvic floor exercises only take a few minutes a day and can easily be done while you’re watching TV or using the computer, there are very few reasons not to add them to your erectile dysfunction prevention routine.
Important Safety Information
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
Do not take Sildenafil (sildenafil citrate) if you:
- take any medicines called nitrates, often prescribed for chest pain, or guanylate cyclase stimulators like Adempas (riociguat) for pulmonary hypertension. Your blood pressure could drop to an unsafe level
are allergic to sildenafil, as contained in Sildenafil and REVATIO, or any of the ingredients in Sildenafil
Discuss your health with your doctor to ensure that you are healthy enough for sex. If you experience chest pain, dizziness, or nausea during sex, seek immediate medical help
Sildenafil can cause serious side effects. Rarely reported side effects include:
- an erection that will not go away (priapism). If you have an erection that lasts more than 4 hours, get medical help right away. If it is not treated right away, priapism can permanently damage your penis
- sudden vision loss in one or both eyes. Sudden vision loss in one or both eyes can be a sign of a serious eye problem called non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION). Stop taking Sildenafil and call your healthcare provider right away if you have any sudden vision loss
sudden hearing decrease or hearing loss. Some people may also have ringing in their ears (tinnitus) or dizziness. If you have these symptoms, stop taking Sildenafil and contact a doctor right away
Before you take Sildenafil, tell your healthcare provider if you:
- have or have had heart problems such as a heart attack, irregular heartbeat, angina, chest pain, narrowing of the aortic valve, or heart failure
- have had heart surgery within the last 6 months
- have pulmonary hypertension
- have had a stroke
- have low blood pressure, or high blood pressure that is not controlled
- have a deformed penis shape
- have had an erection that lasted for more than 4 hours
- have problems with your blood cells such as sickle cell anemia, multiple myeloma, or leukemia
- have retinitis pigmentosa, a rare genetic (runs in families) eye disease
- have ever had severe vision loss, including an eye problem called NAION
- have bleeding problems
- have or have had stomach ulcers
- have liver problems
have kidney problems or are having kidney dialysis have any other medical conditions
Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Sildenafil may affect the way other medicines work, and other medicines may affect the way Sildenafil works, causing side effects. Especially tell your healthcare provider if you take any of the following:
- medicines called nitrates
- medicines called guanylate cyclase stimulators such as Adempas (riociguat)
- medicines called alpha-blockers such as Hytrin (terazosin HCl), Flomax (tamsulosin HCl), Cardura (doxazosin mesylate), Minipress (prazosin HCl), Uroxatral (alfuzosin HCl), Jalyn (dutasteride and tamsulosin HCl), or Rapaflo (silodosin). Alpha-blockers are sometimes prescribed for prostate problems or high blood pressure. In some patients, the use of Sildenafil with alpha-blockers can lead to a drop in blood pressure or to fainting
- medicines called HIV protease inhibitors, such as ritonavir (Norvir), indinavir sulfate (Crixivan), saquinavir (Fortovase or Invirase), or atazanavir sulfate (Reyataz)
- some types of oral antifungal medicines, such as ketoconazole (Nizoral) and itraconazole (Sporanox)
- some types of antibiotics, such as clarithromycin (Biaxin), telithromycin (Ketek), or erythromycin
- other medicines that treat high blood pressure
- other medicines or treatments for ED
Sildenafil contains sildenafil, which is the same medicine found in another drug called REVATIO. REVATIO is used to treat a rare disease called pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Sildenafil should not be used with REVATIO or with other PAH treatments containing sildenafil or any other PDE5 inhibitors (such as Adcirca tadalafil)
Sildenafil does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.
The most common side effects of Sildenafil: headache; flushing; upset stomach; abnormal vision, such as changes in color vision (such as having a blue color tinge) and blurred vision; stuffy or runny nose; back pain; muscle pain; nausea; dizziness; rash.
Sildenafil (sildenafil citrate) is prescription medicine used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED).
Sildenafil is not for women or children.