When a man feels sexually aroused, his hormones, muscles, nerves and blood vessels awaken and they work with the other organs to signal his arousal in the form of a penile erection.
The brain sends nerve signals to the penis, which causes the muscles to become relaxed and elastic, hence allowing blood to flow into the penile tissue. Once the blood has reached the penile muscles an erection is achieved. The blood vessels in the muscles become locked to make the penis rigid. Once it is no longer aroused, or after sex has taken place, the veins open up again and blood can leave the penis, which relaxes the muscles.
Every man has difficulty getting or maintaining an erection at some point in his life. Erectile problems occur when a man cannot get a firm enough erection to have sex. This problem does occur from time to time for most men, which is nothing serious. However, if you are unable to get an erection 25% of the time, there is a chance you are suffering from a health condition requiring medical attention. For information, erectile dysfunction is also known under the following terms:
The root cause of erectile dysfunction is not always clear. One of the first concerns for men suffering from erectile dysfunction is that it could be a symptom of an underlying disease. Indeed, we often diagnose diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure are often diagnosed thanks to erectile dysfunction being one of their first symptoms. It is therefore important to talk to your doctor as soon as you notice these symptoms.
If your erectile dysfunction is a symptom of an undiagnosed illness, many men opt for medical treatments and alternative therapies. Talking about your problems with a partner or doctor can also play a key role in getting rid of erectile dysfunction. There are also a number of habits that you can adopt which can often be enough to completely rid you of the problem.
Drugs such as Viagra or Cialis have emerged in recent years as a solution for men who want to treat their erection problems quickly and effectively. These treatments raise your blood pressure and have a more or less instantaneous effect. However, some scientific studies show that changing certain lifestyle habits can be enough to get rid of the symptoms of erectile dysfunction.
Even if you opt for medical treatment you might still decide to improve your lifestyle as well, which can increase the drug’s effectiveness and allow you to take a lower dose. What’s more, adopting a healthy lifestyle will also improve your overall health.
Here are six steps to follow every day to reduce and even eliminate your erectile dysfunction.
Reduce alcohol consumption
Although alcohol has the effect of relaxing and giving confidence to some people, it also plays a key role in erectile dysfunction. A study from 2007 revealed that out of 100 alcoholic men, 72 of them also suffered from erectile dysfunction.
Why does alcohol cause erectile dysfunction? There are three causes identified by doctors. Firstly, alcohol can raise your blood pressure and cause atherosclerosis; this means it prevents blood flow to the penis and thus prevents a proper erection from occurring. Secondly, the more a person drinks alcohol, the greater its damage is to the nervous system. This then reduces sensitivity in the pleasure receptors. Finally, doctors have also identified that alcohol has a harmful effect on testosterone production in men, which is an essential hormone for erectile function. The latter cause was identified by a scientific team in 2002.
By limiting the amount of alcohol you consume—especially before you have sex—you will decrease the risk of erectile dysfunction. The WHO advise that you should drink no more than three units a day. If you do consume more than this, it is strongly advised that you wait 48 hours before drinking alcohol again.
It’s no secret that smoking is one of the main causes of lung cancer. However, smoking can also cause erectile dysfunction. As with alcohol, tobacco may interfere with the body’s vascular functions and hence reduce blood flow to the penis.
Cigarettes also include chemical agents such as arsenic, tar and carbon monoxide, which you consume when you inhale the smoke. These are all harmful to your health. Furthermore, these chemical agents may also prevent nitric oxide from working in the body, which is a crucial component in relaxing the muscular vessels.
A study published by the British Journal of Urology (BJU) in 2004 suggests that the more a man smokes, the more likely he is to suffer from erectile dysfunction. It is also reported that a good number of men regain their erectile function after stopping smoking.
Episodes of stress and anxiety can be a major contributor to erectile dysfunction, especially amongst young men. Stress at work or problems at home can all be factors that lead to erectile dysfunction, high blood pressure, or other health problems.
If you are so stressed that you experience erectile dysfunction, make sure you consult a doctor. You could also talk to your employer or someone close to you. Stress does not only affect erectile function but it can also be dangerous to your health.
A balanced diet
Eating unhealthily might also be the cause of your erectile dysfunction. The more saturated fats you eat, the greater the risk of arterial congestion. Arterial congestion prevents good blood circulation and can thus generate erectile dysfunction.
Scientific studies demonstrate that men following a “Mediterranean” diet (consisting of nuts, whole grains, fish, fruits and vegetables) are less likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction. On the other hand, eating a diet that contains a lot of red meat and processed food may be harmful to your health. Therefore, if you suffer from erectile dysfunction, make sure you analyse your eating habits and lose weight.
Having a sedentary lifestyle can provoke erectile dysfunction. In fact, doing no sport whatsoever can lead to health problems such as high blood pressure or circulation problems. A study published by the Ethiopian Journal of Science in 2011 conducted several experiments to determine whether cardiovascular exercise improves the symptoms of erectile dysfunction.
According to this study, sports have a positive impact on men suffering from erectile dysfunction related to low blood circulation, especially aerobic activities.
You don’t have to spend hours at the gym. Rather, doctors recommend that you practice two and a half hours of cardiovascular exercise per week. Furthermore, in addition to improving the symptoms of erectile dysfunction, physical activity is also beneficial to your health.
Avoid recreational drugs
There is a significant list of medication that can cause erectile dysfunction. A doctor will inform you of the side effects whenever he prescribes you a medical treatment. If the side effects trouble you or if they worsen over time, it is essential to respond accordingly and to consult a doctor as quickly as possible.
It is not advised to use drugs, as the consequences can be dramatic for your health. Be aware in particular that this type of drug increases the risk of erectile dysfunction. A study published in 2009 by the Journal of Sexual Medicine reveals that using heroin, methamphetamine and MDMA causes symptoms of erectile dysfunction in 40% of cases.
If you suffer from erectile dysfunction, the first step is to talk to your doctor. If you do not want to talk with your doctor, there are various discrete specialist services that you can use instead.
Most men will experience erectile dysfunction at some point in their lives. It is estimated that 23 million men are currently using treatment for erectile dysfunction.
Sometimes this problem is not the result of an undiagnosed health problem, and will disappear after changing your lifestyle.
However, if your symptoms persist or get worse, do not hesitate to consult a doctor so he can help you.
Is there a definitive treatment?
You cannot get rid of erectile dysfunction symptoms definitively. Even medication only has a limited effectiveness over time. The less healthy your lifestyle, the more your erection problems will persist. Regardless of the root cause of your problem, the first stage in the healing process is to improve your lifestyle.
Medical review on March 10, 2017 by Dr. Davis Taylor