Pelvic floor muscle (PFM) training for postprostatectomy incontinence is considered a first line approach to rehabilitation, but PFM training for erectile dysfunction (ED) after surgery is less well known. With more than 1.4 million new cases diagnosed globally per year, there is a need for non-invasive options to assist sexual dysfunction recovery.
Commencing preoperatively and using both fast and slow twitch fibre training performed in standing postures, new protocols were developed to address clinical presentations with aims to reduce ED and impact on quality of life (QoL). Comparisons with "usual care" PFM training, prerehabilitation and postrehabilitation were then assessed.
A randomised controlled trial of 97 men undergoing radical prostatectomy (RP) were allocated to either a control group (n = 47) performing "usual care" of 3 sets/d PFMT or an intervention group (n = 50), performing 6 sets/d in standing, commencing 5 weeks before RP.
Participants were assessed preoperatively and at 2, 6, and 12 weeks after RP using the Expanded Prostate Cancer Index Composite for Clinical Practice, International Index of Erectile Function-5, and real time ultrasound measurements of PFM function.
At all time points, there was a significant difference (P< 0.05) between groups; however, the only time point where this difference was clinically relevant was at 2 weeks after RP, with the intervention group reporting less distress in the Expanded Prostate Cancer Index Composite for Clinical Practice QoL outcome. Secondary measures of EPIC-EF and real time ultrasound PFM function tests demonstrated improvement over all time points in both groups with lower bothersome scores in the intervention group.
Early PFM training reduces early QoL impact for postprostatectomy ED, with faster return to continence enabling earlier commencement of penile rehabilitation. While our 12-week protocol and sample size was not powerful enough to demonstrate conclusive benefits of early PFM training for ED, PFM intervention after RP over longer times has been supported by others. Milios JE, Ackland TR, Green DJ. Pelvic Floor Muscle Training and Erectile Dysfunction in Radical Prostatectomy: A Randomized Controlled Trial Investigating a Non-Invasive Addition to Penile Rehabilitation. J Sex Med 2020;XX:XXX-XXX.
Sexual medicine. 2020 May 14 [Epub ahead of print]
Joanne E Milios, Timothy R Ackland, Daniel J Green
School of Human Sciences (Exercise and Sport Science), The University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia. Electronic address: ., School of Human Sciences (Exercise and Sport Science), The University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia.