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Physical activity and exercise for erectile dysfunction: systematic review and meta-analysis
  1. André B Silva1,
  2. Nelson Sousa1,2,
  3. Luís F Azevedo3,4,
  4. Carlos Martins1
  1. 1 Family Medicine Unit, Social Sciences and Health Department of the Faculty of Medicine of Porto, Porto, Portugal
  2. 2 Research Center in Sports Sciences, Health Sciences and Human Development (CIDESD), University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Vila Real, Portugal
  3. 3 CIDES—Department of Health Information and Decision Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal
  4. 4 CINTESIS—Centre for Health Technology and Services Research, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal
  1. Correspondence to Dr André B Silva, Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade do Porto, Al. Prof. Hernâni Monteiro, Porto 4200-319, Portugal; andreborgessilva{at}outlook.com

Abstract

Background A growing body of evidence suggests that physical activity and exercise may improve erectile function.

Objective To conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis evaluating the effects of physical activity modalities and exercise on erectile function in erectile dysfunction trials.

Methods A systematic review was conducted in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement. We searched 6 electronic databases between January 1990 and July 2016 and hand-searched reference lists for randomised controlled trials. Only patients with a diagnosis of erectile dysfunction were included. The mean differences between intervention and control groups were calculated for meta-analysis.

Results 7 studies were eligible, including 478 participants allocated to aerobic, pelvic or combined exercise interventions. Follow-up ranged from 8 weeks to 2 years. The risk of bias in the trials was deemed moderate to high mainly due to impossible blinding of patients and personnel, as well as questionable blinding of outcome assessors. Random-effects meta-analyses were performed. Pooled data showed a statistically significant improvement in erectile function score (mean difference 3.85, 95% CI 2.33 to 5.37). A benefit was still demonstrable after a sensitivity analysis because the mean difference in International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) score ranged from 3.39 (95% CI 1.92 to 4.87) to 4.28 (95% CI 2.54 to 6.02). A benefit was also detected in short-term and long-term interventions as well as in trials evaluating physical activity and exercise alone or in addition to usual care.

Conclusions The present study suggests that physical activity and exercise interventions improve patient-reported erectile dysfunction, particularly aerobic exercise with moderate-to-vigorous intensity.

  • Exercise
  • Meta-analysis
  • Physical activity

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Footnotes

  • Twitter Follow Carlos Martins at @mgfamiliarnet

  • Contributors ABS and CM are the guarantors. All authors except for LFA contributed to the drafting of the manuscript, the development of the selection criteria, the risk of bias assessment strategy, and data extraction criteria. ABS and NS developed the search strategy. ABS and NS conducted the report screening, study inclusion, data extraction, and result interpretation and discussion.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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