A physical therapist who specializes in erectile dysfunction has shown how many men fail to realize that a strong pelvic floor is essential for a healthy sex life.
Rosemary Lillie, 66, founded the West Wimbledon Physiotherapy Clinic in 2003 after working in both the NHS and private practice, and estimates that she has helped hundreds of men find sexual satisfaction.
She sees up to five male clients a week since focusing solely on male fertility problems a decade ago, including some who have never had sex.
As well as treating men for bedroom performance issues, she is an expert on Peyronies disease, or the curvature of the penis when erect and caused by scarring.
Rosemary helps the majority of her patients by improving the strength of their pelvic floor – a part of the body that many men don't even know they even own. She also uses shock waves, lasers, manual therapy, and acupuncture.
Rosemary Lillie, 66, who heads West Wimbledon Physiotherapy, is a leading expert on erectile dysfunction
She said to FEMAIL: “Some of the men who come to me have never had a sex life. Being a man and not getting an erection means you cannot have sex and it can be incredibly stressful.
“There can be tears and some pour out their hearts to me. We always have a box of handkerchiefs on hand in case men need them.
“Sometimes I go home emotionally exhausted, but it's comforting to know that I can help.
"Some men use humor to get them through and mask their pain. So it happens that a patient takes off his pants a few times and says," I bet you've seen some of these in your time? "I have to say," Yes, I have. "
Those with erectile dysfunction are treated with either shock wave, laser therapy, or a state-of-the-art £ 50,000 PelviPower chair that strengthens the pelvic floor muscles through a frequency of 25 to 50 Hz, which is the optimal muscle contraction.
She added, "The shock wave and laser treatments improve blood flow to the penis, so I tend to have people comment after the first treatment that it's already better."
After an initial discussion, Rosemary conducts a physical exam on patients to assess the pelvic floor and review treatment options.
Rosemary said, “The way to get an erection is by putting spongy material in the penis and forcing blood into it, which erects the penis.
Rosemary, who also treats female incontinence, decided to focus on men when she realized that very few practitioners were helping men. Pictured with one of her patients
“They have muscles around them that help erect. If you have a strong pelvic floor, you have a much better chance that that erection will last.
“Because I am experienced, I know what a good pelvic floor should feel like. You have to feel between the anus and the back of the testicles, where the pelvic floor is located. & # 39;
A 15-minute session on the PelviPower chair is equivalent to 11,000 Kegel exercises.
"Erectile dysfunction caused my marriage to collapse."
Andrew *, 47, of Milton Keynes, Bucks., Has just completed a treatment with Rosemary. He said, "Erectile dysfunction had a huge impact on my confidence, and the resulting stress affected my personality, making me grumpy, angry, and probably less lovable to be around.
Ultimately, my wife and I separated and divorced. I firmly believe that ED was a major part of the cause.
“I tried self-hypnosis and meditation, and when my ED started as a result of treatment for prostate cancer, I was prescribed Cialis (Taladafil), which works, but not as well when your self-confidence is low.
After my treatment for the cancer, I had a urinary tract infection that developed in Peyronie's disease that resulted in a slightly deformed and shortened penis.
This had two effects: one, it further affected my confidence, and the other, it was painful, making intercourse painful.
“The shock wave therapy I did with Rosemary definitely improved the situation so much that erections were more natural and frequent, and my penis stretched noticeably. Sex is much, much better now. & # 39;
* Names have been changed
Since the pelvic floor is a muscle, its job is to tighten, relax, and create counter pressure in the event of a pressure increase such as sneezing. The extracorporeal shock waves it delivers are the generation of low frequency sound pressure waves.
Rosemary, who is a lifelong Crystal Palace fan and worked as a physical therapist at the club in 1989 and 1990 while Steve Coppell was manager, says most men have no idea that they even have a pelvic floor, and hence the role, who they play are unaware of their love life and physical wellbeing.
She added, “It's interesting that most women have a good idea of their pelvic floor while most men don't. So if you ask them to exercise their pelvic floor, they will just look at you and say they have no idea where to start. & # 39;
Rosemary points out that lifestyle can also affect the male pelvic floor. Men who don't exercise a lot and instead sit down a lot are likely to have weak pelvic floors.
However, if you are generally fit, healthy and exercising, your pelvic floor will be fine as anything muscle work will help build your pelvic floor.
Rosemary has a collection of cards from satisfied customers and often bouquets of flowers come from men whose lives she has changed for the better.
She added, “I love my job very much. I love helping people. That's why I got involved in it at all.
"There is so much I can do to help men with erectile dysfunction and many other things."
Rosemary is currently treating a man with Peyronie's disease. The condition creates scar tissue in the shaft of the penis, causing the penis to bend. Hence, getting an erection and having sex is quite painful.
She added, “We are working on this scar tissue and he tells me that he now wakes up every morning with a good spontaneous erection, like he used to.
“And he can now get an erection very comfortably, and when he has sex with his partner it is no longer painful. After his first treatment, he said he noticed a difference. & # 39;
Rosemary has treated men of all ages for the past 10 years, with the oldest being 72 years old.
She said, 'Age isn't really a problem. Look at Ronnie Wood, he's 73 now and had twins four years ago! & # 39;
Rosemary, who also treats female incontinence, decided to focus on men when she realized that very few practitioners were helping men.
She added, “I usually see about five men a week. I'm treating someone who is 67 years old right now, but that's not uncommon. & # 39;
Rosemary has a collection of cards from satisfied customers and often bouquets of flowers come from men whose lives she has changed for the better
Rosemary said she found it very rewarding to be able to help and explained that some men prefer to be treated by another man but there are no set rules for doing it.
"I think some people are happier to speak to someone who is older, more experienced, and non-threatening," she added.
“Many men may find it embarrassing to speak to a young doctor or physiotherapist.
“It's not the kind of thing men talk to other men about. You will never admit that you have erection problems, will you? The fact that they can talk to someone who is a professional who can help them can only be a good thing. & # 39;
Rosemary said she believed the number of men she treated was in the hundreds.
“When they came to me, they researched the subject and found that they had a problem. Many of them have tried Viagra, but there are downsides to it, ”she said.
“With Viagra, you have to decide when you want sex and plan it. Then you have to take a certain amount of time in advance.
“And if you're unlucky, your erection can actually last hours, which sounds fantastic to some, but it actually isn't. It can be quite awkward, so it takes out the spontaneity. & # 39;
Rosemary added that men "definitely" have an easier time talking about erectile dysfunction.
"The internet has given people a lot more opportunities to research and look up things that will help them," she said.
What Causes Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction, also known as impotence, occurs when a man cannot get or maintain an erection.
It is more common in those over 40, but affects men of all ages.
Failure to stay upright is usually due to fatigue, stress, anxiety, or alcohol and is not a cause for concern.
However, it can be a sign of an underlying condition such as high blood pressure or cholesterol, side effects from medication, or hormonal issues.
Lifestyle factors that can affect the condition include obesity, smoking, too much cycling, too much drinking, and stress.
Source: NHS selection
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