Pelvic floor physical therapy addresses a host of health issues including erectile dysfunction (ED). This page will define ED, how it is diagnosed, treated and how pelvic floor physical therapy can benefit this condition.
What is Erectile Dysfunction?
ED is the inability to achieve an erection, the inability to maintain an erection, or a decrease in firmness of an erection. There are four factors that contribute to erectile function: adequate blood flow, intact nervous system, pelvic floor muscle function, and psychological wellness. If one of these factors is impaired, erections can become impaired. Other symptoms that may accompany erectile dysfunction can include poor orgasms, painful ejaculation, and lower urinary tract symptoms.
Common conditions associated with ED
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Low Testosterone
- Alcohol, Drug, and Cigarette Use
A diagnosis of ED is determined by the patient’s symptom, medical, and pharmacological history. Because ED can be indicative of underlying cardiac, metabolic, or hormonal conditions a provider may refer the patient to get further testing to rule out other medical conditions.
- Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy
- Vacuum Erection Device
- Treatment of underlying cardiac or metabolic conditions
- Hormone Therapy
- Talk Therapy
How can pelvic floor physical therapy help with erectile dysfunction?
Pelvic floor muscles play a role in erectile function. Pelvic floor muscles that are too tight and chronically short restrict blood flow into the shaft of the penis and put pressure on nerves that supply sensation to the penis. Lax muscles do not engage to maintain an erection and may have weakened contraction during ejaculation. Both short and lax muscles are dysfunctional and do not function as they need to for optimal erections, orgasms, and ejaculation.
Pelvic floor physical therapy employs manual techniques, exercise programs, diet and activity modifications, and education to help resolve erectile dysfunction. A technique called connective tissue manipulation releases connective tissue restrictions in areas surrounding the pelvis including abdominals, inner thighs, groin, buttock, and low back. Manual release of pelvic floor muscles and relaxation exercises can help to alleviate muscle tightness. Exercises for the pelvic floor strengthen muscles and restore optimal function. Lifestyle modifications such as adjusting daily activities, diet, and education can help to address underlying causes of erectile dysfunction.
If you struggle with erectile dysfunction, contact Urology Austin to schedule a consult with one of our providers.