Male Pelvic Health: Erectile Dysfunction Causes & Treatments

In Male Pelvic Pain by Stephanie PrendergastLeave a Comment

By Stephanie A. Prendergast, MPT, Cofounder, PHRC Los Angeles


Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the leading cause of sexual dysfunction in men affecting one in five men. It is defined as the inability to achieve & maintain an erection satisfactory for sexual intercourse. There are several causes for ED.

Vasculogenic, or due to an issue with blood supply, is the most common cause; therefore there is a high prevalence of ED in men with cardiovascular disease. In fact, 40% of men with heart disease have severe ED.

Other causes include medications, surgical procedures, pudendal neuropathy & in some cases pudendal neuralgia and pelvic floor dysfunction.

Certain medications, such as those to manage high blood pressure, can contribute to erectile dysfunction. Other medications have an adverse effect on sexual functioning, such as certain antidepressants.

Surgical procedures, such as a prostatectomy, can compromise arteries and nerves resulting in ED. Fortunately, there are nerve-sparing prostatectomies which have reduced, but not eliminated, ED as an adverse effect of surgery.

The pudendal nerve plays a vital role in erectile function; therefore, if the pudendal nerve has been injured (pudendal neuropathy) ED often occurs.

Lastly, in the minority of cases, those that have pudendal neuralgia (nerve irritation) and/or pelvic floor dysfunction can experience ED.

ED tx


Erectile dysfunction can be due to several factors. The most common one is poor cardiovascular health. Ensuring you’re a healthy body weight by eating a healthy diet and getting enough exercise is paramount for good cardiovascular health!

There are several medications that are quite effective in treating erectile dysfunction. Speak to your urologist to see if you’re a good candidate for these medications.

Not interested in medications? There are some devices that can improve erectile function. There are simple devices such as penis pumps, or, much more complicated devices, such as prostheses. Speak to your urologist to see if they may be a good treatment option for you.

Last but not least, in some cases erectile dysfunction is due to muscular dysfunction. In this case pelvic floor physical therapy can be an effective treatment for erectile dysfunction.



We are excited to announce Molly will be helping PHRC open their 11th location in Columbus, OH in September of 2023. Join the waitlist and be the first to be contacted!

Are you unable to come see us in person in the Bay Area, Southern California or New England?  We offer virtual physical therapy appointments too!

Virtual sessions are available with PHRC pelvic floor physical therapists via our video platform, Zoom, or via phone. For more information and to schedule, please visit our digital healthcare page.

Melissa Patrick is a certified yoga instructor and meditation teacher and is also available virtually to help, for more information please visit our therapeutic yoga page

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