Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a widespread sexual issue that impacts up to 30 million men in the US alone.
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The good news is that there are effective and safe treatments for ED. But first, you must identify the underlying cause of your disorder.
Factors such as physical issues like blood vessel damage or poor circulation, and psychological ones like low libido can all have an effect on a man’s ability to achieve or maintain an erection.
Cigarette smoking is a major contributor to erectile dysfunction, particularly among younger men. Nicotine in cigarettes damages the lining of blood vessels, increasing your risk for vascular disease and heart disease as well as decreasing HDL (good) cholesterol levels.
Smoking has also been linked to a range of other health complications, such as pulmonary conditions like emphysema and asthma. Furthermore, smoking increases your likelihood of developing various cancers.
Smoking is a major cause of premature death in both the United States and other countries. Although public policies have significantly reduced smoking rates, certain demographics still experience higher rates of smokers than others.
Cigarette smoke has been found to increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. This is because smoking causes your blood pressure to rise, increasing the likelihood that you will experience a heart attack or stroke.
However, quitting smoking can reduce your risk of heart disease and lower your blood pressure. Furthermore, improved circulation may improve erectile function as well.
Heavy smokers, in particular, are at an increased risk for developing ED. While it’s impossible to tell how long symptoms will improve after quitting smoking, a study found that 50% of men with ED who stopped smoking experienced improvements within six months after quitting.
Thankfully, quitting smoking is an easy and effective way to improve your erectile function. Studies have demonstrated that your arteries open up and blood flow increases within 2-12 weeks after quitting smoking, helping you achieve or maintain an erection.
Experiencing ED on occasion is normal and no cause for alarm, but if it becomes a regular occurrence, consult your doctor. Usually, ED occurs when the body is under stress or anxiety.
Erectile dysfunction can also be indicative of an underlying health issue, like high blood pressure. Getting your blood pressure checked by a physician is one of the simplest ways to diagnose and address erectile dysfunction.
The erection process involves several steps, such as hormone production, nerve stimulation and blood flow to the penis. If any one of these elements fails, it can prevent or delay an erection from forming.
Alcohol can thwart this process. It depresses your central nervous system and slows signals between your brain and penis, thus impairing their capacity for forming an erection.
Heavy drinking can lower testosterone levels, which is the hormone responsible for stimulating penis. Low testosterone makes it harder for your body to produce nitric oxide, a compound which relaxes blood vessels in your penis and enhances blood flow to the site of your erection.
Alcohol not only causes sexual dysfunction, but it’s also detrimental to your heart and overall wellbeing. Alcohol clogs blood vessels, decreasing oxygen supply to the heart which in turn increases the risk of heart disease or strokes.
Alcoholically using your hands and feet on a regular basis can damage their nerves, leading to the condition known as alcoholic polyneuropathy. With time, this may result in numbness and pins-and-needles sensations in those areas.
Additionally, smoking increases your risk for various health issues like cancer and dementia. Furthermore, it weakens your immune system, leaving you more susceptible to illnesses like tuberculosis and pneumonia. Furthermore, smoking suppresses bone and muscle production – increasing the likelihood of osteoporosis or fractures.
Medicines are chemicals or compounds that can be used to cure, mitigate symptoms, or diagnose diseases. They come in various forms such as tablets, capsules, liquids, creams and patches.
Some medications can interfere with how hormones and nerves function, leading to erectile dysfunction. This issue is commonly experienced among men taking medications for high blood pressure, heart problems, antidepressants, or sleeping pills.
Certain medications for diabetes and high cholesterol may affect a man’s ability to achieve or maintain an erection. Discuss these medications with your doctor and ask him to check them to see if any could be contributing factors in the development of your ED.
Your doctor can suggest medications that won’t trigger ED or help you discontinue them. For instance, statins (cholesterol-lowering drugs) are generally safe to take and may even improve symptoms in some men.
Men can also receive injectable medication to address various erection issues, such as alprostadil, papaverine and phentolamine. These are administered via injection into the side of the penis and proven effective although they may not be pleasant to administer.
Another way to treat erectile dysfunction is through lifestyle modifications. Quitting smoking, cutting back on alcohol consumption and getting regular exercise all help improve erections and sexual satisfaction.
Your doctor will want to know about any existing medical conditions you have, your medication history and how long you have been taking the medications. This information will enable them to determine the most suitable solution for you.
Eating the right diet is essential for developing and maintaining healthy erectile function. Eating fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, fish, or other sources of long-chain fatty acids while avoiding red and processed meats will benefit overall health and may reduce the likelihood of developing erectile dysfunction.
Some foods can help enhance erectile function by increasing blood flow or stimulating testosterone production. For instance, spinach and lettuce contain nitrates which have a vasodilating effect on your penis’ blood vessels.
Other foods, like resveratrol and L-citrulline, may have an impact on erectile function. One study discovered that taking a combination of these nutrients helped improve ED symptoms in men who used PDE5 inhibitors (medications like sildenafil) for treatment.
Eating a diet low in sugar and high in fiber, protein, calcium and vitamin D can benefit your overall health and help to maintain healthy erections. Eating lean meats and nuts also increases testosterone levels which could result in improved penises.
Another essential aspect of a healthy diet is not being afraid to enjoy yourself occasionally. But for maximum benefits from your lifestyle change, stick to an eating plan that incorporates nutritious-rich foods throughout the day.
A Mediterranean diet has long been known to reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes. This type of eating encourages you to incorporate beneficial foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, legumes, fish and olive oil into your meals for improved wellbeing.
When it comes to treating erectile dysfunction (ED), there are plenty of safe and effective treatments. Medication such as sildenafil (brand name Viagra) or tadalafil (brand name Cialis) work by increasing blood flow to the penis, helping restore erections and enhance sexual performance.
Exercising can significantly enhance erectile function and may even prevent or reverse ED. Studies have demonstrated that consistent exercise of moderate to high intensity is beneficial for those with ED.
Kegels are one of the best exercises for treating erectile dysfunction (ED). Not only do they strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, but they can also assist with other symptoms associated with ED such as urinary incontinence and dribbling after urinating.
Kegels are easy to do. Place your thighs, buttocks, and abdominal muscles on the floor and contract your pelvic floor muscles. Squeeze these for three counts before inhaling while releasing them; repeat on the other side.
Aerobics is another beneficial form of exercise for men with ED, as it improves cardiovascular health and can help combat underlying issues like obesity which may contribute to ED.
Finally, exercise helps reduce stress – which may be a contributing factor in erectile dysfunction. Yoga, Pilates and swimming are all excellent forms of physical and mental exercise that promote wellbeing.
If you suffer from erectile dysfunction (ED), it’s essential to reach out for assistance from a healthcare provider as soon as possible. They can assess your symptoms, review your medical history and suggest a treatment plan designed to enhance both erectile function and quality of life. Whether exploring medication, diet or non-surgical treatments like GAINSWave(r), make an appointment with a board-certified urologist today for further evaluation and guidance.