Men with prostate cancer can “save their sex lives” by exercising before undergoing surgery, new evidence identifies.

Experts have said that a pre-habilitation exercise programme before a radical prostatectomy can protect the nerves and arteries in the penis.

Pelvic floor exercises increase blood flow to the penis, making it easier for it to become erect, researchers have revealed.

Each year, roughly 5,000 prostatectomies are carried out, which involves removing the prostate gland.

According to Prostate Cancer UK, around 80 per cent of men with prostate cancer go on to experience erectile complications.

Former president of the British Society for Sexual Medicine, Dr Geoff Hackett said: “It’s a no-brainer really.

“What’s the point in doing all this when the damage has already been done during the surgery? You get much quicker healing and recovery in erectile and urinary function if the nerves, blood vessels and muscles that control them are in a healthier condition going into the surgery.”

Men can also protect themselves from erectile dysfunction by using the drug Cialis for two months before surgery, the study has reported.

Otherwise known as tadalafil, this drug dilates the small blood vessels supplying an individual’s genitals.

Scientists from the Korea University College of Medicine examined whether the drug tadalafil combats erectile dysfunction.

More than 40 men who had their prostates removed took part in the study. Half of the group had a daily dose of tadalafil for two weeks before their operation, while the other half were prescribed the drug for a month after surgery.

The researchers found that 80 per cent of the men who took the drug before surgery and 71.4 per cent of those in the post-op treatment group did not experience erectile complications.

The academics stated: “This suggests pre-operative penile rehabilitation may lead to better erectile function than a post-operative approach.”

Dr Hackett said: “The trouble is that there are no major large-scale trials yet demonstrating its effectiveness before surgery, so it’s very difficult to persuade NICE to endorse it.

“So men wanting advance treatment usually need to obtain tadalafil on a private prescription. I see patients like this all the time, and I recommend they start, ideally, two to three months before surgery.”

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