By Riva Preil
Unfortunately, male sexual dysfunction is extremely common after radical prostatectomy (RP). Some of the manifestations of sexual dysfunction include erectile dysfunction, anejaculation (inability to ejaculate), climacturia (orgasm-associated incontinence), and changes in penis length. Pelvic floor physical therapy has been recommended to help decrease these symptoms…but when should the exercises be initiated? Is it ever too soon? And could starting a pelvic floor strengthening program too early be dangerous or harmful in any way?
Fortunately, a recent study reported in Cancer Nursing (March-April 2012) addresses this topic, and the answer is that it is safe for men to perform pelvic floor exercises immediately following catheter removal. In this randomized controlled clinical trial, researchers assigned 35 men to an experimental group and 27 men to a control group. The experimental group performed daily pelvic floor strengthening exercises immediately after catheter removal, and the control group performed similar exercises which were initiated three months post-operation.
The results of the experiment were that men in the experimental group demonstrated LESS sexual dysfunction than the control group. Not only does pelvic floor physical therapy improve continence, but it also promotes restoration of potency. Therefore, pelvic floor physical therapy is indicated for ALL male patients post prostatectomy…and the sooner, the better!