Erectile dysfunction is a deeply personal and distressing problem that describes a condition where an erection is either not possible or is not sufficient for the desired task of sexual activity. It is a condition that can have multiple causes and therefore you must discuss it with the GP.
They will look for all medical reasons for this problem and advise you accordingly, conducting tests where necessary. We know that smoking, alcohol, a poor diet and lack of exercise can have an impact (for some) on erectile function. Physiotherapy can be very helpful where the pelvic floor is implicated. We can also advise on exercise, diet and general wellbeing.
- Problems affecting the flow of blood to your penis
- conditions of the nervous system, which is made up of your brain, nerves and spinal cord
- Changes or disease causing change in hormone levels
- Physical structure problems in the penis
- Psychological and emotional wellbeing
- Intra-pelvic pain syndromes like Chronic Pelvic pain
- Post surgical injury to nerves and muscular tissue (Prostatectomy / TURPS)
We could always recommend you see your GP 1st to rule out any other co-morbid factors.
Physiotherapy can help by:
- Removal of aggravating factors
- Consideration of life style: Alcohol, smoking, diet, exercise.
- Manual therapy treatment to your low back and pelvis, getting the joints moving correctly
- Trigger point therapy: Getting the muscles working properly and reduction of the overactive parts in the low back muscles, hip muscles and pelvic floor muscles. You will also be taught how to do this yourself.
- Pelvic floor exercises to release your pelvic floor
- Self stimulation activities are essential. Using hot, cold, light and harder touching of the penis can help with sensory reactivation. If the nerves are damaged after surgery then sensory reception will be compromised. Such activity can be done at home and often is better to do regularly.
- Specific hip, spine and pelvis exercises to get you and your pelvic floor moving better.
- Specialised Breathing and relaxation work. Relaxation through breathing has been found to be hugely beneficial for all types of conditions.
- Re-education of the pelvic floor, hip and abdominal musculature
- General exercise
We often recommend involving your partner as this will help with marital or relationship problems and in some cases can greatly expedite your recovery. In some cases we will suggest you see a counsellor as this can be hugely beneficial. Our minds and body are connected and we know about the harms that stress and anxiety can bring. If there is tension in the pelvis then stress and anxiety can exacerbate already vulnerable and sensitised regions of the body.