Living With Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction is a condition in which a man is unable to enjoy a satisfactory sexual intercourse due to an inability to achieve erection for an adequate time period. A common assumption is that the symptoms of ED tends to appear at an older age but according to a new research conducted by National Institute of Health, investigators proposed that only 15 -25% ED patients are 65 years or old (1). In fact about 5% of all ED patients in clinical practice are younger than 40 years of age (1).
Regardless of the fact that the intensity of sexual vigor and vibrancy declines significantly as part of physiological aging, the onset of erectile dysfunction should not be taken entirely as a physiological change. Most men are hesitant to talk about their manhood and erectile problems, but ignoring the issue can invite a whole lot of other personal and relationship conflicts.
Living With Erectile Dysfunction
If you are experiencing erectile dysfunction; following measures should be taken to optimize your sexual vigor:
1. Discussing health issues that leads to ED:
It is believed that chronic and uncontrolled health conditions can lead to ED; such as:
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular dysfunction
- Neurological problems
- Low testosterone levels
Therefore it is important to discuss with your doctor if your ED is due to an ongoing health condition in order to restore normal sexual functions. It has been observed that prompt management of chronic medical issues often helps in the restoration of sexual functions.
2. Avoid smoking
Smoking adversely affects stamina, energy levels and libido. The nicotine in cigarettes is known to constrict the blood vessels that aids in achieving and maintaining penile erection. In addition, cigarette smoke is known to have hundreds of carcinogens and irritants that may also harden the arteries (by a process known as atherosclerosis); thereby leading to ED. Quitting smoking can help in regaining sexual vigor and stamina that translates into a healthy sex life.
A healthy diet helps in achieving optimal erectile functions. For example, consuming a diet low in cholesterol not only minimizes the risk of developing heart diseases but also delays the onset of age-related erectile dysfunction. Research studies show that ED is also linked to obesity and high cholesterol levels. Therefore incorporating fresh fruits, nuts and other low cholesterol foods can help in maintaining erectile dysfunction.
4. Avoid alcohol as an aphrodisiac
It is a common misconception that alcohol acts as an aphrodisiac by reducing stress and anxiety levels and improving libido; however, several research and clinical studies have suggested that excessive consumption of alcohol may in fact cause/ worsen libido. This is mainly because, alcohol acts as a CNS- depressant. If you consume too much alcohol on regular basis, cutting down your consumption will definitely help in improving erectile functions.
5. Adequate exercise
Daily exercise can do wonders for your health. According to a new study reported in the peer reviewed journal Monaldi Archives for Chest Disease (2), incorporation of moderate physical activity in your daily routine can enhance libido as well as improves your performance in the bedroom. Moderate physical activity also increases the circulation of oxygenated blood in all parts of the body, including the pelvic region which directly improves the sexual functions. Moreover exercise builds stamina and improves the self-image.
6. Stay away from Stress and anxiety
Any kind of stress or anxiety (such as work related, personal problems or due to phobias/ fear) can hinder your sexual performance. This is mainly because, sexual excitation is a result of physical as well as emotional stimulation. If erectile dysfunction is due to psychological reasons, talking to a therapist or counselor can help in overcoming these feelings via medication and counseling.
For example, according to a new study reported in the BJU International journal (3), investigators suggested that more people report erectile dysfunction after the diagnosis of prostate cancer or after undergoing prostate biopsy; due to anxiety and stress.
7. Explore all medical options
Fortunately, a number of viable, cost-effective and risk-free treatment options are available to address erectile dysfunction in men. Other than conventional drugs (such as Viagra, Sialis and other phosphodiesterase inhibitors), there are other advanced options as well, such as testosterone replacement, penile injections, use of vacuum pump devices or penile implants). Speak to your doctor to learn what options are best for you.
Erectile dysfunction is a common problem that responds very well to a healthy lifestyle and proper treatment along with the love and support of your partner.
1. Stranne, J., Malmsten, U. G., Areskoug, B., Milsom, I., Molander, U., & Peeker, R. (2013). Influence of age and changes over time on erectile dysfunction: Results from two large cross-sectional surveys 11 years apart. Scandinavian journal of urology, 47(3), 198-205.
2. Maresca, L., D’Agostino, M., Castaldo, L., Vitelli, A., Mancini, M., Torella, G., … & Altieri, V. (2013). Exercise training improves erectile dysfunction (ED) in patients with metabolic syndrome on phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE-5) inhibitors. Monaldi Archives for Chest Disease, 80(4).
3. Helfand, B. T., Glaser, A. P., Rimar, K., Zargaroff, S., Hedges, J., McGuire, B. B., … & McVary, K. T. (2013). Prostate cancer diagnosis is associated with an increased risk of erectile dysfunction after prostate biopsy. BJU international, 111(1), 38-43.