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Posted March 13, 2023 01:08 PM
Exercise Can Help Men Last Longer During Sex Research Suggests
Exercise could be as effective as pharmaceutical treatments in treating premature ejaculation, according to a new study published in the journal Trends in Urology and Men’s Health.
The review looked at 54 studies and nearly 3,500 participants to examine the effectiveness of nondrug interventions for premature ejaculation.
“We know premature ejaculation is a common complaint among men worldwide. The lack of a clear definition of what is or isn’t premature ejaculation has repercussions in terms of treatment, and there are relatively few effective drugs available,” said senior author Lee Smith, PhD, professor of public health at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, England, in a press release.
The findings of this review suggest that physical exercise, including running and pelvic floor workouts, can help treat premature ejaculation, said Dr. Smith.
How Common Is Premature Ejaculation?
Because there hasn’t been a single definition of premature ejaculation, estimates on how many men experience it vary widely, according to the U.K. researchers. Depending on the study, prevalence ranges from 30 percent to 83 percent of men, they wrote.
Mayo Clinic defines premature ejaculation as a man ejaculating sooner than he wants to while having sex. If it happens only rarely, it isn’t cause for concern.
A man might be diagnosed with premature ejaculation in the following scenarios:
Always or nearly always ejaculates within 1 to 3 minutes of penetration
Is never or rarely able to delay ejaculation during sex
Feels distressed and frustrated about timing of ejaculation and tends to avoid sexual intimacy as a result
Regular Exercise Can Help Men Delay Ejaculation
The authors found that regular physical activity as an intervention had promising results in many of the studies they analyzed in their research review.
For example, a study with 105 participants found that running for 30 minutes five times a week helped extend latency time (time until ejaculation occurs) as much as taking dapoxetine, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) drug approved for use in premature ejaculation outside the United States.
Two other studies linked yoga with statistically significant improvements in delaying ejaculation.
Pelvic Floor Exercises May Also Help
Exercising pelvic floor muscles was also shown to have some benefits. Men who practiced pelvic floor exercises increased latency time from a median of 1 minute to 3 minutes.
Pelvic floor muscles play a role in ejaculation, and men who can strengthen and improve pelvic muscle control may be able to delay ejaculation by relaxing their perineal muscles, according to the Sexual Medicine Society of North America (SMSNA).
Also called Kegel exercises, pelvic floor workouts can help strengthen these muscles, according to Mayo Clinic.
Medication for Premature Ejaculation Is Limited
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any drugs specifically for premature ejaculation, though physicians may prescribe some medications off-label.
Topical numbing agents can reduce sensation and help delay ejaculation. There are also oral medications that may help delay orgasm, including antidepressants, pain relievers, and drugs used for erectile dysfunction, according to the American Urological Association.
“Given that drugs often have side effects, it appears that after all, the best medicine for avoiding premature ejaculation may well lie in exercise, and this possibility requires larger studies and further investigation,” said Smith.
Treating Erectile Dysfunction May Help Treat Premature Ejaculation
Some of the studies included in the review found benefits when the men with premature ejaculation were also treated for concurrent erectile dysfunction (ED), notes Raevti Bole, MD, a urologist at Cleveland Clinic, who was not involved in the research.
“I would agree that treating ED (if present) is a very important initial treatment,” she says.
It’s Important to Consider Multiple Treatment Options
Systematic reviews can be useful in that they are able to consolidate the results of many studies, says Dr. Bole.
But even a well-executed systematic review is only as good as the studies that are included, she points out. Because many of the studies the review included didn’t use the same definition of premature ejaculation, there may be different types of patients with varying degrees of premature ejaculation, says Bole.
“The studies included also had small numbers of patients, which makes it difficult to tell whether the result was due to the treatment or chance,” she adds.
Nevertheless, the review shows that it’s important to consider multiple options when treating premature ejaculation. “A lot of factors affect premature ejaculation, including hormones, stress, anxiety, prior sexual episodes, and [overall] erectile function,” she says.
Because every patient is a little different, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment. “Medication, exercise, counseling, sex therapy, yoga, pelvic floor rehabilitation, treating underlying medical conditions — all of these things play a role,” she says.
Concerned About Premature Ejaculation? Talk With Your Physician
It’s also important for patients to understand that many men may be concerned about premature ejaculation, and there’s no shame in talking about it with their doctor, says Bole.
“Many times, patients will talk to us and realize that they’re very much within normal range for ejaculatory latency. They just didn’t know what ‘normal’ was,” says Bole. “But if we do diagnose an issue, we can work together to come up with a solution.”