Physical activities

Preoperative physical activities can combat erectile dysfunction in prostate patients, study finds

Men with prostate cancer can ‘save their sex life’ by exercising before undergoing surgery, new evidence suggests.

Experts have said that a pre-habilitation exercise program before a radical prostatectomy can protect the nerves and arteries in the penis.

Pelvic floor exercises increase blood flow to the penis, making it easier to erect, researchers have found.

Each year approximately 5,000 prostatectomies are performed, which involves the removal of the prostate.

According to Prostate Cancer UK, approximately 80% of men with prostate cancer suffer from erectile complications.

Former President of the British Society for Sexual Medicine, Dr Geoff Hackett said: “It really is a no-brainer.

“What’s the point of doing all this when the damage has already been done during the operation? You get much faster healing and recovery of erectile and urinary function if the nerves, blood vessels, and muscles that control them are in a healthier state before surgery.

Men can also protect themselves from erectile dysfunction by using the drug Cialis for two months before surgery, the study reported.

Otherwise known as tadalafil, this drug dilates the small blood vessels supplying the genitals of an individual.

Scientists from Korea University College of Medicine investigated whether the drug tadalafil fights erectile dysfunction.

More than 40 men whose prostates were removed participated in the study. Half of the group received a daily dose of tadalafil for two weeks before their operation, while the other half were prescribed the drug for a month after the operation.

Researchers found that 80% of men who took the drug before surgery and 71.4% of those in the post-surgery treatment group had no erectile complications.

The academics said: “This suggests that preoperative penile rehabilitation may lead to better erectile function than a postoperative approach.”

Dr Hackett said: ‘The problem is that there are no major large-scale trials yet demonstrating its effectiveness before surgery, so it is very difficult to persuade NICE to approve it.

“So men wanting advanced treatment usually have to get tadalafil on a private prescription. I see patients like this all the time, and recommend that they start, ideally, two to three months before surgery.