If you have a look online for natural cures for erectile dysfunction, you’ll get thousands of results. You won’t be able to find much medical evidence to support these “natural medicines”, though. But there are ways to manage and prevent erectile dysfunction (ED) without medication. Hint: they mostly revolve around healthy lifestyle choices.
Although men don’t usually to experience the same self esteem related problems with being overweight that women do, men do tend to get them when it comes hand in hand with erectile dysfunction. If you’re overweight, losing weight has been linked to a reduction in ED as it improves healthy blood flow, which is needed to achieve an erection. But there’s also believed the be another link - that men can perform better when they get the ego boost of having lost weight.
Taking more exercise is a three pronged winning approach to managing ED - or preventing it happening in the first place. Taking regular exercise helps to reduce the risk factors which may cause ED later in life, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. It also improves blood flow, which is crucial in getting an erection. Lastly, there’s the feel good factor. Taking exercise releases endorphins which boosts your mood, and can help combat stress, depression and other psychological factors which may be causing ED.
Improving your diet goes hand in hand with losing weight and taking more exercise, as all round good health is key to happiness below the belt. If you have high cholesterol it’ll build up in your veins and arteries, which will show itself first as ED as the build up prevents blood flow. Keep that cholesterol down.
Smoking is a big cause of ED, especially among younger men. Smoking impacts your body’s ability to carry oxygen in blood cells, and thickens your blood. This affects blood flow, which is a biggie for getting in the way of getting hard. It won’t have its effect instantly, but quitting smoking is good for all aspects of your health. You can get advice for quitting smoking at SmokeFree.
Alcohol is a depressant, and its nerve numbing properties make it one of the bigger causes of short term erectile dysfunction - sometimes known as “whiskey dick”. If you drink booze to the point of alcoholism, the effects can be even more drastic. In the long term, alcoholism can lead to nerve damage, which can cause ED. Drinkaware have advice on how to cut back.
ED might be a side effect of another medication you’re already on. It’s estimated that this is the cause of 25% of all cases of erectile dysfunction. The biggest culprits are blood pressure medicines, antidepressants and diuretics. Obviously, don’t take this as a green light to stop or change the medicine you’re on, as you’ll probably do more harm than good. But the good news is your doctor may be able to change the medicines you’re on so you don’t get these side effects.
Although experiencing ED often has a physiological cause, usually due to problems with the arteries, it may have a psychological root too. This is especially common among men under 40. Stress, anxiety and depression can reduce libido and so cause ED. Reducing these feelings can help you to get back in the groove.
Taking more exercise can boost your endorphins and combat mental health problems. Alternatively, speaking to a counsellor or taking CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) sessions can change your thought patterns and manage the problem without need for medicines.
If you’ve tried these techniques and they aren’t working for you, never fear, the little blue pill can help. Viagra is the oldest and best known ED med, which has an 80% chance of helping you get an erection. Earlier this year, it became the first ED medicine in the UK to be available to buy over the counter (without a prescription). You can now buy Viagra under the name Viagra Connect online from a service such as Eddie.
Keep up those healthy life choices too, though.