MONDAY, April 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Pelvic exercises can benefit men with chronic premature ejaculation, according to a new study.
Premature ejaculation -- defined as occurring within one minute -- affects many men at some point in their lives. Although different treatments exist, some men don't respond to any of them.
This study included 40 men, aged 19 to 46, with lifelong premature ejaculation who had tried different treatments -- including creams, antidepressants and behavioral therapy -- without success. They were trained to exercise their pelvic floor muscles and did this for 12 weeks.
At the start of the study, the men's average time to ejaculation was about 32 seconds. That improved to almost 2.5 minutes -- a more than fourfold increase -- by the end of the three-month pelvic exercise program.
Only five men in the study had no significant improvement, according to the findings that were to be presented Sunday at the European Congress of Urology in Stockholm.
"This is a small study, so the effects need to be verified in a bigger trial. Nevertheless, the results are very positive," study leader Dr. Antonio Pastore, of Sapienza University of Rome, said in a news release from the European Association of Urology. "The rehabilitation exercises are easy to perform, with no reported adverse effects."
Pelvic floor exercises are often used to help treat incontinence in men, especially after prostate cancer surgery. The exercises had previously been tested in men with temporary premature ejaculation, but not in those who've had the problem for a long time, the researchers said.
"We also found that the fact that the men were able to improve their sex lives through their own efforts helped their self-confidence," Pastore said.
Advantages of pelvic floor exercises over other treatments include lack of side effects and cost savings, he said.
Carlo Bettocchi, a professor and a spokesman for the association, agreed. "Premature ejaculation is a real problem for many men, and any way which we can find to help this condition is welcome," he said. "This method is particularly welcome because it is the sufferers themselves who overcome the problem through their own efforts -- which will have additional psychological benefits," he said in the news release.
Research presented at meetings is typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about premature ejaculation.