Erectile dysfunction (ED), or impotence, is a major challenge for many men today regardless of their age — young, middle-aged, or old. Because erectile dysfunction may be caused by many factors — a health condition, emotional or relationship problems, some kinds of medication, smoking, drugs, or alcohol — an erectile dysfunction cure is possible.
Though erectile dysfunction treatment options may include ED medication and surgery, there are also noninvasive erectile dysfunction remedies that may help.
According to Mayo Clinic, men with erectile dysfunction may experience some or all of these persistent symptoms:
- Reduced sexual desire
- Trouble getting an erection
- Trouble keeping an erection
In fact, one common reason many younger men visit their doctor is to get erectile dysfunction medication. Often, men with erectile dysfunction suffer with diabetes or heart disease, or may be sedentary or obese, but they don’t realize the impact of these health conditions on sexual function. Along with erectile dysfunction treatment, the doctor may recommend managing the illness, being more physically active, or losing weight.
The causes of erectile dysfunction are many, including physical problems like diabetes, heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and even sleep disorders. Medication taken for health conditions can result in erectile dysfunction, as can alcohol and smoking.
But erectile dysfunction is also caused by mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, stress, and trouble with relationships. That’s why visiting a medical doctor for erectile dysfunction treatment is so valuable.
If ignored, erectile dysfunction can lead to complications, such as an unsatisfactory sex life, low self-esteem, high anxiety, and relationship problems. Getting a partner pregnant also becomes difficult if a man suffers with erectile dysfunction.
A study published in May 2014 in The Journal of Sexual Medicine found that some men can reverse erectile dysfunction with healthy lifestyle changes, such as exercise, weight loss, a varied diet, and good sleep. The Australian researchers also showed that even if erectile dysfunction medication is required, it’s likely to be more effective if you implement these healthy lifestyle changes.
For men searching for ED medication, there are many newer erectile dysfunction treatments (all prescription drugs) that help you get an erection firm enough to have sex, and most have few side effects.
Commonly prescribed erectile dysfunction treatments include:
- Stendra (avanafil)
- Viagra (sildenafil)
- Cialis (tadalafil)
- Levitra or Staxyn (vardenafil)
If you need erectile dysfunction treatment, talk with your doctor today.
1 Exercise Is an Active Erectile Dysfunction Treatment
“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 improves blood flow, which is vitally important to a strong erection, and improves blood pressure by increasing nitric oxide in blood vessels, which he says is exactly how Viagra works. Weight-bearing exercise can increase the natural production of testosterone, a significant factor in erectile strength and sex drive.
2 One Erectile Dysfunction Remedy Is a Healthy Diet
The foods you eat can have a direct impact on erectile dysfunction, Dr. Mucher says. A diet rich in fruit, veggies, whole grains, and fish, and with fewer servings of red meat and refined grains, decreases the risk for ED.
A healthy diet also helps to maintain a healthy body weight, which is important because men who have a 42-inch waist are 50 percent more likely to have ED than men with a 32-inch waist. Also, obesity increases the risk for vascular disease and diabetes, two factors that contribute to ED.
3 Sleep Is a Natural Erectile Dysfunction Treatment
Poor sleep patterns can be a contributing factor for erectile dysfunction, Mucher says. One review published in the journal Brain Research emphasized the intricate relationship between the level of sex hormones like testosterone, 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 body’s internal clock, and sleep patterns likely help the body determine when to release certain hormones.
Adhering to a set sleep schedule is a natural erectile dysfunction remedy, and can help ensure that those signals are clear and consistent.
4 Quit Smoking to Stop Erectile Dysfunction
For many men, stopping smoking is an erectile dysfunction remedy, particularly when ED is the result of vascular disease, which occurs when blood supply to the penis becomes restricted because of blockage or narrowing of the arteries. Smoking and even smokeless tobacco can also cause the narrowing of important blood vessels and have the same negative impact.
If you smoke, talk to your doctor about quitting and whether prescription aids can help you.
5 Limit Alcohol to Improve ED
“Alcohol is a depressant and can cause both temporary and long-term erectile dysfunction,” Mucher cautions.
The central nervous system is responsible for releasing nitric oxide, an essential chemical for producing and maintaining an erection, and heavy alcohol consumption depresses the central nervous system, causing it to function less efficiently. Not enough nitric oxide translates to erectile dysfunction.
6 Monitor Your Meds to End Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction can occur as a side effect of medication taken for another health condition. Common culprits are high blood pressure meds, antidepressants, some diuretics, beta-blockers, heart medication, cholesterol meds, antipsychotic drugs, hormone drugs, corticosteroids, chemotherapy, and medication for male pattern baldness, among others.
If you think your medication might be causing ED, talk to your doctor, but don’t discontinue using it on your own. Some medication must be tapered off under a doctor’s supervision.
7 Acupuncture May Help With Erectile Dysfunction
Research is mixed on the effectiveness of acupuncture as an erectile dysfunction cure, but one study published in November 2013 in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that acupuncture can be beneficial for men experiencing erectile dysfunction as a side effect of antidepressants, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).
Sexual side effects of these drugs happen to at least half of all people taking them, and by some counts up to 90 percent.
8 Can Herbal Remedies Help or Hurt Erectile Dysfunction?
“There are many herbal remedies that tout improvement in erectile function, but most have little effect and may actually have detrimental side effects,” Mucher says. Two natural erectile dysfunction treatments that have shown promise are red ginseng and pomegranate juice.
“Ginseng is thought to increase nitric oxide production, leading to improved blood flow,” he says. “Pomegranate juice is a potent antioxidant and can help prevent atherosclerosis.” Always talk to your doctor before taking any supplements, as they might interfere with other medication you’re taking.