Exercise maintains sexual activity in men undergoing androgen suppression for prostate cancer: a randomized controlled trial
Background: Previous research has shown exercise to be an effective method to mitigate many adverse treatment-related effects of androgen suppression therapy (AST) but the potential impact of exercise on sexual activity remains unknown. The purpose of this investigation was to report the effect of a 12-week exercise program on sexual activity in prostate cancer patients undergoing AST. Methods: Fifty-seven prostate cancer patients undergoing AST were randomly assigned to an exercise program (resistance and aerobic modes; n=29) or usual care control (n=28). Sexual activity was assessed by the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer prostate cancer-specific quality of life questionnaire (QLQ-PR25). Results: QLQ-PR25 data were log transformed and analysis of covariance was used to compare sexual activity between groups following the intervention adjusted for baseline activity. No differences in sexual activity were observed between the exercise and control groups before the intervention. There was a significant (P=0.045) adjusted group difference in sexual activity following the 12-week intervention. Patients undergoing usual care decreased sexual activity while patients in the exercise program maintained their level of sexual activity. At baseline, 20.6 and 22.2% of participants in the exercise and control groups reported a major interest in sex (that is, high libido). Following the intervention, the exercise group had a significantly higher percentage of participants reporting a major interest in sex (exercise=17.2% vs control=0%; P=0.024). Conclusions: Participation in a short-term exercise program resulted in the maintenance of sexual activity in prostate cancer patients undergoing AST.