New research suggests that running and pelvic floor exercises may be an effective way to combat premature ejaculation, a common sexual complaint in men.
The condition is estimated to affect 30% to 83% of men, with the lack of a widely accepted definition leading to a wide range of estimates.
Researchers from Anglia Ruskin University reviewed 54 studies published over the past 49 years, involving 3,485 participants from around the world.
They found that physical activity, such as exercise and pelvic floor exercises, had promising results in many of the studies and was as effective as drugs, but without associated side effects.
One study found that running for 30 minutes, five times a week had as much impact on latency time, the time taken to ejaculate, as taking dapoxetine, a drug used to treat the condition.
Meanwhile, carrying out pelvic floor exercises increased latency time from an average of one minute to three minutes, according to another study included in the research.
Lee Smith, Professor of public health at ARU and lead author of the study, said that premature ejaculation is a common complaint worldwide, and that the lack of a clear definition of the condition has repercussions in terms of treatment.
He explained that relatively few effective drugs are available, and the paper is a comprehensive review of studies into non-pharmacological interventions for the condition.
The findings indicate that physical exercise, including running and engaging pelvic floor muscles, show promise in several studies, he said.
While the research also looked at approaches using various forms of psychotherapy, it showed that physical exercise interventions had clear indications of success.
There are few medications that can treat premature ejaculation, including the drug dapoxetine, while other off-label options often used include local anaesthetics, clomipramine and tramadol.
However, many of these interventions have side effects. The findings are published in the journal Trends in Urology and Men’s Health.