Physical Activity to Improve Erectile Function: A Systematic Review of Intervention Studies

Helle Nygaard Gerbild, Camilla Marie Larsen, Christian Graugaard, K.A Josefsson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: The leading cause of erectile dysfunction (ED) is arterial dysfunction, with cardiovascular disease
as the most common comorbidity. Therefore, ED is typically linked to a web of closely interrelated cardiovascular
risk factors such as physical inactivity, obesity, hypertension, and metabolic syndrome. Physical activity (PA) has
proved to be a protective factor against erectile problems, and it has been shown to improve erectile function for
men affected by vascular ED. This systematic review estimated the levels of PA needed to decrease ED for men
with physical inactivity, obesity, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, and/or manifest cardiovascular diseases.
Aim: To provide recommendations of levels of PA needed to decrease ED for men with physical inactivity,
obesity, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, and/or cardiovascular diseases.
Methods: In accord with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA)
guidelines, a systematic review was performed of research articles specifically investigating PA as a possible
treatment of ED. The review included research on ED from physical inactivity, obesity, hypertension, metabolic
syndrome, and/or cardiovascular diseases. All available studies from 2006 through 2016 were checked for the
predetermined inclusion and exclusion criteria to analyze the levels of PA needed to decrease ED.
Results: 10 articles met the inclusion criteria, all suggesting various levels of PA needed to decrease ED for men
with relevant risk factors for ED. The results of the review provided sufficient research evidence for conclusions
regarding the levels of PA necessary to decrease ED.
Conclusion: Recommendations of PA to decrease ED should include supervised training consisting of 40 minutes
of aerobic exercise of moderate to vigorous intensity 4 times per week. Overall, weekly exercise of 160 minutes for
6 months contributes to decreasing erectile problems in men with ED caused by physical inactivity, obesity, hypertension,
metabolic syndrome, and/or cardiovascular diseases.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Sexual Medicine
ISSN1743-6095
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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