Erectile dysfunction, the inability to start or maintain an erection long enough to have sex and achieve pleasure, can strike at any point in a man’s life. It can be a temporary hormone issue or something with an underlying medical condition that needs to be addressed. While common in aging men, it should not be dismissed as a normal aging function. With its several causes and consequences, it is important to know the roots of erectile dysfunction and how to go about safely and effectively treating it.
- Get examined. A full physical examination can help your doctor detect a more serious underlying health issue. If you see a noticeable change in your erection, see your doctor, who will rule out conditions like diabetes, heart disease, or hypertension, to name a few.
- Lose excess pounds. Overweight and obese men are more likely to experience erectile dysfunction, so it is very important to lose weight and exercise. Even a moderate weight loss can bring about sexual improvements. Exercise also improves your blood flow, lowers your blood pressure, regulates your blood sugar, and helps you maintain a healthy weight, which can also positively impact your sexual function.
- Check the medications you’re taking. There are, for instance, certain antibiotics, diuretics, and blood pressure meds that can cause erectile dysfunction. If you are on these meds, talk to your doctor about potentially changing your prescription or adjusting the dose.
- Quit smoking and reduce alcohol intake. Generally, nicotine constricts your blood vessels, and smoking is a known contributor to many health conditions that lead to erectile dysfunction. Moderating your alcohol consumption, too, can relax your blood vessels and improve blood flow, so drink just enough.
- Seek social support and therapy. Stress and depression are also common ED culprits. If you are having problems with your sexual function, the anxiety that follows can worsen them. If you have managed the physical health side and still go through ED problems, you may need to seek social support or professional psychosocial treatment to make sure your mental wellness is managed as well.
- Try the use of erectile dysfunction drugs. These drugs are designed to increase nitric oxide levels in your blood, causing the vessels in your penis to relax and allow for more blood flow. They incite better response to sexual arousal. But beware: they can come with minor to serious side effects, and are not recommended for patients of heart disease or high blood pressure.
- Try the use of penis pumps and implants. These can allow you to have an erection without using drugs, and they may need surgery or not. Pumps, for instance, work externally through vacuum suction. Extreme care and attention is necessary when using these because of the potential penile tissue damage when overdone.
- Explore the use of herbal supplements. Herbs like ginseng, ginkgo biloba, maca root, and saw palmetto, to name a few, are time-tested for sexual function benefits and male potency. Ask your doctor about using them, and seek only a high-quality, safe formula from a reputable manufacturer.