Reaching middle adulthood, around 40% of men struggle with some sort of erectile dysfunction. If you're part of that group, you're not alone.
Many physiological and psychological factors come into play when it comes to achieving and maintaining an erection. You can treat erectile dysfunction in many ways. It's not uncommon for a man with erectile dysfunction to try several treatments before finding the one that works for him.
A big part of maintaining a healthy and satisfying sex life is learning the best ways to deal with difficulties like erectile dysfunction. Here are some of the most popular methods that men use to treat erectile dysfunction.
How Blood Flow Affects Erections
Arousal is the first step in getting a solid erection. In response to sexual stimulation, nerve impulses from the brain travel down the spinal cord and into the penis, causing the release of nitrous oxide, or NO. NO then signals the arteries in the penis to relax and dilate, allowing more blood to flow in and fill the spongy tissue in the penis. It's a chain reaction that ends with a full erection.
If there's a lack of blood flow to the penis, whether it's from a physical or psychological cause, there's a good chance that a man won't be able to maintain a full erection. The system is delicate, and many factors play into the arousal process and the physical ability to get and maintain an erection.
Physical Causes of Erectile Dysfunction
It's normal to worry about erectile dysfunction, and it's important to know that there are many reasons it could be happening, many of which have nothing to do with physical or psychological problems.
Sometimes there is a physical cause. If you have an underlying medical condition like diabetes or high blood pressure, or if you've had surgery on your pelvic area, you may experience erectile dysfunction. Other possible physical causes include:
Do you eat a lot of meat? High cholesterol, which is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke, can also negatively impact your blood flow.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that can build up in the arteries and form plaque. While this is a normal part of the body's natural healing process, too much plaque can build up and cause a narrowing in the arteries, cutting off blood flow. If your cholesterol levels are too high, your blood won't get to the penis the way it needs to for an erection to occur.
Try to eat whole food plant-based meals and monitor your cholesterol levels to keep your blood flowing freely, which may help your ED.
Many men with erectile dysfunction are overweight or obese. Along with the risk of heart disease and diabetes, being overweight also limits blood flow to the penis. Men who are obese increase the risk of ED from 30 to 90%, issuing a strong correlation between the two.
Obesity is a result of a lifestyle that is high in fat and simple carbohydrates and low in whole food nutrients, so it's important to have a plan to start eating more whole foods while moving more and being more active.
Trauma to the pelvic area can also cause erectile dysfunction. If you've been in a car accident or have experienced a sports injury, it could be the cause of your ED. Injuries to the pelvic area can cause nerve damage that interrupts signals from the brain to the penis.
If you've been in a car accident or have experienced a sports injury, it could be the cause of your ED. Injuries to the pelvic area can cause nerve damage that interrupts signals from the brain to the penis. If you've experienced a knee or hip replacement, you may have noticed that you have less sensation in the area, and may have experienced some erectile dysfunction. These operations tend to affect the nerves that are responsible for the signals to the penis.
Smoking has an impact on circulation in the body, which may contribute to erectile dysfunction. Smoking constricts the blood vessels, making it more difficult for blood to flow through.
When your blood vessels constrict, the flow of blood to the penis is reduced. Smoking may also cause arterial plaque to build up, which can decrease blood flow to the penis, leading to erectile dysfunction.
Medications are also a common cause of erectile dysfunction. Many medications can interfere with the ability to get or maintain an erection. There are many prescription drugs that have this effect. Common culprits are:
Blood Pressure Medications — Blood pressure medications are often the biggest culprits when it comes to erectile dysfunction. High blood pressure medications like Lisinopril, Prazosin, Minipress, etc. can affect blood flow to the penis.
Antidepressants — There are many different types of antidepressants. SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) include Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac, and Celexa, tricyclic antidepressants like Elavil, and MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors) like Nardil and Parnate. Many of these drugs affect the levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain and can cause sexual problems.
Blood Thinners — There are many different blood thinners out there. Warfarin or Coumadin is a common one. These drugs work by thinning the blood, which increases the risk of bleeding. The thin blood also makes it more difficult for erections to form.
Heart Medications — Drugs like beta-blockers, hormone drugs, nitrates, and calcium channel blockers all impact blood flow to the penis.
Statin Drugs — Statin drugs are used for lowering cholesterol, but they may also cause erectile dysfunction.
Mental Causes of Erectile Dysfunction
Many mental factors can contribute to erectile dysfunction, such as stress, anxiety, and depression. When a man is under a great deal of stress, his body produces more cortisol and adrenaline, affecting the body's ability to get and maintain an erection.
Psychological factors, such as performance anxiety, can also affect a man's ability to get and maintain an erection. If a man is nervous about his sexual performance, he may experience erectile dysfunction as a result.
Additionally, depression and anxiety can also cause physical symptoms that mimic erectile dysfunction, such as headaches and back pain. Sometimes, a man may experience erectile dysfunction because he is anxious about the possibility of developing erectile dysfunction.
Therapy is a great option for men who are experiencing mental causes of erectile dysfunction. Talking with a qualified therapist can help a man work through his anxiety and stress, which can help him overcome these issues and possibly reverse erectile dysfunction.
Another solution is to talk with your partner about your concerns. Communication is the key to a successful relationship, and if you are worried that your erectile dysfunction might cause you to lose your partner, it's important to talk about it.
Erectile Dysfunction Cures
1. Adjusting Your Diet Can Improve Blood Flow To Your Penis
One of the first steps you should try if you are interested in cures for erectile dysfunction is to change your diet. This should be an easy first step, as the benefits of eating healthy are numerous. By eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, you can improve your overall health, including your blood flow.
Blood flow to the penis is important for achieving and maintaining an erection. Therefore, if you can achieve better blood flow, then you will be able to achieve and maintain an erection more easily. If you live a sedentary lifestyle and don't exercise, you should start an exercise program. If you are overweight, you should also try to lose weight.
An erection requires healthy blood flow because it involves the dilation of blood vessels. When you are aroused, your body releases nitric oxide, which helps to widen the blood vessels and allow blood to flow into the penis. While this process is happening, your body releases other chemicals that cause muscles to relax, which allows for even more blood to flow.
2. Adjusting Your Weight Can Influence Blood Flow To Your Penis
Another factor that can influence erectile dysfunction cures is your weight. This is because being overweight can put a strain on your cardiovascular system, including your penis. Therefore, if you can lose some weight, you will be able to improve your erectile function. In fact, losing as little as five pounds may be all you have to do to achieve a better erectile function.
In addition, losing weight can improve your general health, which may also help to improve your erectile function. Therefore, you should look into healthy diet plans and exercise routines to help you lose weight.
Weight loss isn't always easy, but it is often necessary. You'll both feel better, and you may have a healthier sex life.
3. Exercising Can Improve Blood Flow To Your Penis
In addition to changing your diet, you should also exercise if you suffer from erectile dysfunction. Many men overlook the importance of exercise, but it can have a huge impact on your sexual health. Exercise is a great way to increase your overall health, and it can also improve blood flow to your penis.
This is because exercise helps to improve your overall circulation and increase your blood volume. By increasing the blood volume, you will also increase the amount of blood that flows to your penis when you get aroused. This is important because increasing blood flow to your penis can lead to stronger erections.
Exercise is also good for your heart, which is important because the heart is the primary muscle that pumps blood throughout your body. By exercising, you can ensure that your heart will be healthy, improving blood flow throughout your body, including your penis.
4. Lower Your Stress To Improve Blood Flow To Your Penis
Stress can cause erectile dysfunction, so it is important that you try to lower stress in your life. Of course, no one wants to stress, so it's very difficult to remove stressors from your life.
One thing you can do is focus less on the origin of your stress and more on how to manage it. This could be through yoga, meditation, or another stress-reduction technique. By managing stress, you can improve blood flow to the penis and reduce the effects of stress on your body.
Stress creates cortisol, which can constrict blood vessels. This constriction can make it difficult to achieve an erection, and it will make it difficult for you to maintain an erection. Cortisol also reduces the production of nitric oxide, which is necessary for producing an erection. By lowering your stress, you can increase your nitric oxide levels, which will make it easier to achieve an erection.
5. Try Using An FDA-Approved Medication For Erectile Dysfunction
If you are suffering from erectile dysfunction, then you might be suffering from a type of erectile dysfunction that is treatable with medication.
Sildenafil is the most common medication prescribed for men with erectile dysfunction. It works by increasing blood flow to the penis, allowing an erection to form more easily.
The most common side effects of sildenafil include headaches, nausea, and vomiting. You should not take the medication if you are taking any other medications without speaking with your doctor.
Sildenafil works by blocking an enzyme called phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5). PDE5 is necessary for deactivating cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP). cGMP is necessary for widening the blood vessels. By blocking PDE5, sildenafil can help to widen the blood vessels, which improves blood flow to the penis.
Sildenafil is what is known as a phosphodiesterase inhibitor. Other phosphodiesterase inhibitors include Tadalafil (Cialis)
Tadalafil works in the same way sildenafil does. It inhibits PDE5, which in turn helps to widen the blood vessels in the penis. By widening the blood vessels, you can achieve an erection more easily. The most common side effects are headaches, flushing, and an upset stomach. You should not take tadalafil if you are taking medications for erectile dysfunction.
If you have erectile dysfunction, you should try to find a solution. In some cases, you will need to see a doctor. In other cases, you may be able to change your lifestyle simply.
If you'd like to see a doctor from the comfort of your own home, without even turning on your camera or using your voice over the phone, sign up for Phoenix Health. Phoenix is a telehealth platform that exclusively helps with men's health issues, like hair loss and erectile dysfunction.
Doctors are ready to prescribe you prescription-only medication, like Tadalafil or Sildenafil, and help you get back to your normal self. Sign up for Phoenix Health today to get back to your normal self.
This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. Your specific circumstances should be discussed with a healthcare provider. All statements of opinion represent the writers' judgement at the time of publication and are subject to change. Phoenix and its affiliates provide no express or implied endorsements of third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products, or services.