Posted on Oct 15, 2020, 6 p.m.
Regardless of age, erectile dysfunction or impotence is a major challenge because it can be caused by many factors ranging from a health condition to emotional or relationship issues and certain medications or the use of alcohol or smoking, but it is possible to cure most cases of erectile dysfunction.
Options to combat ED may include medications or even surgery, but there are also noninvasive and more natural approaches that may help, and new research is suggesting that you might be able to reverse ED without medication.
Those with ED may experience some or all of these persistent symptoms: reduced sexual desire, trouble getting an erection, and trouble maintaining an erection according to the Mayo Clinic; one of the common reasons that many men visit a doctor is to get help with ED. Often those with diabetes, heart disease, obesity or those who are primarily sedentary do not understand the impact of these conditions on their sexual function.
Causes of ED vary and are many including physical problems such as obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep disorders, diabetes, and heart disease. Certain medications can also result in ED as can using illicit drugs, smoking and alcohol. Mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, stress, and relationship issues can also cause ED. Along with treatment for ED a doctor may also recommend managing any illness, being more physically active, losing weight, and making some other lifestyle changes.
If you ignore the problem, erectile dysfunction can lead to undesirable complications such as low self-esteem, high anxiety, an unsatisfactory sex life, and relationship issues, along with making it more difficult to get a partner pregnant.
According to a report published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, some men can reverse ED with healthy lifestyle changes such as losing weight, a healthy diet, exercise, and getting good sleep. The finding showed that even if medication is required it is more effective if the patient implements these healthy lifestyle changes.
“There are many lifestyle changes that are erectile dysfunction remedies, but among them, exercise is the ED treatment that can have the greatest impact,” says Zachary R. Mucher, MD, a urologist in Sugar Land, Texas. “Exercise works on several fronts to combat the development of ED and help reverse it once it has become a problem.” Exercise will help to improve blood flow which is key to a strong erection, and weight-bearing exercises can help to increase the natural production of testosterone which is a significant factor in sex drive and erectile strength.
You may not be aware that the food you eat can have a direct impact on erectile dysfunction. A diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains with fewer servings of red meat, processed foods, and refined grains can decrease the risk of ED. Maintaining a healthy diet also helps with BMI which is important because men with a 42-inch waist are 50% more likely to have ED than those with a 32-inch waist, and obesity increases the risk for diabetes and vascular disease which contribute to ED.
A report published in the journal Brain Research describes the relationship between the level of sex hormones, sexual function, and sleep noting that testosterone levels increase with improved sleep and lower levels are associated with sexual dysfunction. Hormone secretion is controlled by the circadian rhythm and sleep patterns are likely to help the body to determine when to release certain hormones, as such adhering to a sleep schedule may be a natural remedy for ED by helping to ensure that those signals are clear and consistent.
When ED is the result of vascular disease it occurs when the blood supply to the penis becomes restricted due to a blockage or narrowing of the arteries. Those who smoke, even smokeless tobacco or vape, experience the narrowing of important blood vessels and have the same negative impacts which can affect erectile function.
Nitric oxide is essential for producing and maintaining an erection, this chemical is released by the central nervous system which alcohol consumption depresses causing it to function less efficiently, and not enough nitric oxide translates to erectile dysfunction.
Certain medications taken for other health conditions can have the side effect of causing ED. The most common culprits include high blood pressure medication, beta-blockers, antidepressants, diuretics, heart medications, cholesterol medications, hormone drugs, corticosteroids, chemotherapy, antipsychotics, and medications for male pattern baldness to list a few. If you think your medication may be the cause of your ED talk to your doctor as certain medications must be tapered off under supervision.
Red ginseng and pomegranate juice have shown promise as natural ED treatments; ginseng helps to increase nitric oxide production leading to improved blood flow, and pomegranate juice is a potent antioxidant that can even help to prevent atherosclerosis. However, it is recommended to talk to your doctor before taking any supplement to avoid the possibility of an unwanted interaction or complication.
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement.