Cheltenham's Only Men's Health Clinic Offers Cutting-Edge Treatment for Hard Flaccid Syndrome

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As Gloucestershire's only men's health physiotherapy clinic, Aubergine Physio offers treatment for a spectrum of men's health conditions to help them reclaim their sexual wellbeing — including lesser recognised, but chronic and distressing conditions, like hard flaccid syndrome. 

A complex health issue which is characterised by a permanent semi-erection, hard flaccid can affect men of all ages, but predominantly affects young men in their 20s and 30s and can cause a lot of discomfort and distress. 

However, through a combination of physiotherapy techniques, lifestyle changes and its innovative Focused Shockwave Therapy treatment, Aubergine Physio can provide effective support — with director Stephanie Smith-Rowles explaining how her team can help.

What is hard flaccid syndrome?

Patients with hard flaccid syndrome experience a persistent semi-erection or ‘rubbery’ feel to their penis, even during a flaccid state.

It's also associated with a loss of erectile rigidity, with a cold and soft glans during erections. Men can notice a lack of maintenance erections, with both their nocturnal and morning erections waning, as well.

Other reported symptoms include a new onset of erectile dysfunction; pelvic floor muscle overactivity and spasm; sensory changes within the penis like coldness and numbness; decreased sensitivity, especially in the glans; as well as a 'hollow' feeling.

Other symptoms are pain in the perineal area or penis during urination or ejaculation, which can be exacerbated when standing.

Hard flaccid can cause a lot of emotional distress and significantly affect a man's self-confidence, intimate relationships and overall quality of life.

What causes hard flaccid syndrome?

Currently, it's not clear what the exact causes of hard flaccid syndrome are, but professionals believe it could be the result of injury or trauma to the pelvis or base of penis. A combination of psychological, neurological and lifestyle factors could also be at play.

Potential triggers to watch out for include:

  • Over exercising or improper exercise: For example, engaging in excessive heavy weight training, excessive squatting or incorrect forms of physical exercise can strain the pelvic area — and the onset of symptoms can be delayed by weeks after the initial event.
  • Trauma or injury: Previous pelvic trauma, such as a fall or surgery, may contribute to the onset of symptoms. This is thought to cause damage to the nerves and blood vessels of the penis and pelvic floor muscles, which can in turn result in a hard flaccid state.
  • Pelvic floor muscle dysfunction: The initial symptoms can trigger emotional distress and a simulation of our sympathetic nervous system, which can lead to overactivity and muscle spasm of the pelvic floor. The pelvic floor remains in a tight, contracted state, which creates trigger points and pain, as well as constricting and altering the blood flow to and from the penis — which can result in semi-hardness.

  • Tough masturbation, hard use of penile pumps around the penis base, rough sex or penile stretching.

  • Chronic stress or anxiety: Emotional and psychological trauma could also influence the development of conditions like hard flaccid syndrome.

  • Excessive porn consumption: Over exposure to explicit sexual content has been linked to a decrease in sexual responsiveness in real-life situations, possibly contributing to hard flaccid syndrome, too.

This condition can affect men of any age, however it is most prevalent in younger men with many reported cases among people in their 20s and 30s, so age could be a factor as well.

How can you treat the symptoms of hard flaccid syndrome at Aubergine Physio? 

We recognise that every patient is unique, so we specialise in treating hard flaccid syndrome with a comprehensive, personalised and compassionate approach.

All treatment plans at Aubergine Physio are completely tailored to the individual and delivered by our team of experienced physiotherapists. These might include a combination of Focused Shockwave Therapy sessions; physiotherapy and pelvic floor rehabilitation, using targeted exercises to restore proper muscle contraction and relaxation; a programme of breathing techniques, gentle stretches and yoga to follow; as well as education and lifestyle modifications.

Your Aubergine Physios will address some potentially aggravating activities and recommend reducing masturbation and porn use, stopping penile stretching and temporarily stopping high intensity weight training — this can make a huge difference to your symptoms.

Once the symptoms have settled, your physio will gently re-introduce light pelvic floor strengthening and strengthening around the pelvis, hips and lower back. A graded return to sexual activity, exercise and sports are added in the end stages of your physiotherapy journey. 

Our team is also able to recommend psychological support, referring patients onto professional counselling services and psychosexual therapists to help them deal with anxiety, stress and other emotional challenges related to their condition.

We offer an initial 15-minute discovery call, which is completely free, so men can ask any questions and we can build a picture of their background before they come in for treatment, to advise the best possible course of action.

How does Focused Shockwave Therapy treat hard flaccid syndrome?

Focused Shockwave Therapy can really help to alleviate the symptoms of hard flaccid syndrome and speed up the rate of recovery. 

It's a non-invasive procedure which uses targeted, high pressure and low frequency sound waves to stimulate tissue repair, improve blood flow and regenerate new blood vessels and nerves in the penis.

We can also target pelvic floor muscular trigger points to reduce pain and discomfort in and around the pelvis and penis, easing urinary and ejaculatory pain.

By treating the area directly, Focused Shockwave Therapy has yielded some promising results in relieving the symptoms of hard flaccid syndrome, restoring blood flow and calming the nervous system to help men with this condition restore their normal sexual function.

Treatment is quick, discreet and pain-free — you can expect each session to last around 20 to 30 minutes. Our therapists administer the treatment by a hand-held device, directed precisely onto the affected areas.

Best of all, there's no down time required after the treatment and no known side effects.

See Gloucestershire men's health series for more information on Focused Shockwave Therapy and the range of conditions treated at Aubergine Physio.

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