Headaches, sensitivity to light, indigestion…No, these aren’t the symptoms of a hangover or a migraine. These are actually only a few of the side effects you may experience from erectile dysfunction medication.
It’s estimated that ED may affect up to 30 million men in the US. Up to 50% of men between the ages of 40 and 70 may be affected at some point. As men age, that risk only increases. If you suffer from ED, you may think you have no other option than to take a pill or get an injection. But that’s not the case. There are other lifestyle factors that can make an even greater impact.
Lifestyle changes don’t have the same immediate effect as a pill, but they do offer men alternatives to medication when combating erectile dysfunction. In fact, prescription pills don’t work for 50% of the men who try them either because the side effects are too much or because they simply don’t work.
For many, the pills are an effective short-term solution that when combined with dietary and lifestyle changes can improve men’s quality of life. Prescription pills have a time and a place for men who are seeking treatment, but they’re designed to treat a symptom and they don’t address the underlying cause. For most men pills for ED should be thought of as a short term treatment while lifestyle and total health changes are a long term, sustainable solution. The changes you make to your overall health are the most important things you can do for reversing erectile dysfunction.
So whether you want to treat the condition naturally, or you’ve tried the pills and they’re not a good option for you, keep reading and we’ll guide you through some all-natural tricks to help you reclaim your sex life.
6 Natural Remedies for Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
The number of men who will suffer from erectile dysfunction is projected to reach over 300 million by 2025. You know you have ED if you struggle to get an erection or sustain one during sexual activities.
There isn’t merely one cause of ED. The cause may be psychological or more often physical; you may have an acute case or a chronic case. Regardless of the specific cause or causes, though, there are ways to treat erectile dysfunction in both older and younger men.
Erectile dysfunction doesn’t just affect men. It’s difficult for female partners as well. If you’re searching for healthy, natural and pill-free ways to treat ED, here are our top non-medical recommendations for what you can do:
Erectile Dysfunction Can Be Triggered by Alcohol and Cigarettes
Alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking can all lead to narrowing or hardening of the penile arteries. This reduces blood flow to the area and can make it more difficult to have an erection (among other complications).
Cigarette smoking is also associated with complete impotence in men who also have heart disease and hypertension.
To improve vascular health and help reduce the symptoms of ED, it’s best to reduce your intake of these substances as much as possible.
Walking Can Improve Sexual Health
Did you know that something as simple as walking helps cure erectile dysfunction?
This is especially true for men who are severely overweight since obesity is a risk factor for the development of erectile dysfunction. A study found that 33.33% of obese men who walk 2 miles at a brisk pace on a daily basis regained normal sexual activity after two years.
Cardiovascular disorders are also higher in men with ED and it is well known that exercise encourages heart health.
Your Pelvic Floor Muscles Need A Workout
Have you heard of Kegel exercises? Then you may be wondering why it’s on a list for treating a male-specific problem. But Kegel exercises are for men, too.
Exercising your pelvic floor muscles can help get the blood flowing in your penile veins. The best part? You can do Kegels any time — at work, in the gym, or while you’re in the shower.
To find your pelvic floor muscles try to stop your urine stream when peeing, or imagine you’re peeing and you need to stop your flow. Those muscles, the ones you use to stop your urine flow are your pelvic floor muscles.
The exercises will strengthen and increase blood flow. As we all know, an erection needs a strong blood flow in order to become erect and to remain erect long enough to have intercourse.
A study published in BJU International tracked 55 men over 20 years old who experienced ED for more than six months. They made lifestyle changes which included exercise and improved diet as well as incorporating kegeling into their routine. After six months, 75% of the men saw improvement.
To get the benefits of Kegel, tighten your pelvic floor muscles for five seconds. Relax. Repeat 20xs three or four times a day.
The best part, Kegel and lifestyle changes don’t have negative side effects or interact with medication and they’re easy to do.
What You Eat Affects Your Sexual Performance
Eat less red meat and processed grains and eat more fruit, veggies, whole grains, and fish. Your wife or partner has been telling you to clean up your diet for years. If you have ED, it’s time to heed that advice.
A healthy diet can help keep you from developing erectile dysfunction in the first place. “I think nutrition is probably the first form of primary care. It’s almost the first treatment,” said Dr. Billups, Founder and Medical Director of The Billups Center in Murfreesboro, TN. “Nutrition and other lifestyle factors are an important adjunct in how we’re going to treat you.” An anti-inflammatory and plant-based diet will help improve overall vascular health.
If you have vascular disease anywhere, you have vascular disease everywhere. This means the penis, which is very vascular tissue, will be one of the first places on the body men will see the initial signs of vascular disease.
Anxiety and Depression Can Be a Cause OR a Symptom of Sexual Dysfunction
It’s likely not a surprise that resolving issues with erectile dysfunction leads to an improvement in both depression symptoms and quality of life. Numerous studies have shown this is the case, including this one published in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
There is also a causal relationship between the feelings of shame, worthlessness, and depression that are commonly experienced by men dealing with erectile dysfunction. These feelings make the problem worse. A common symptom of depression is erectile dysfunction. The antidepressants used to treat depression can also often make impotence worse.
In some instances, erectile dysfunction caused by psychological determinants or interpersonal relationships is temporary. It passes when the underlying stressor or cause is resolved. If the problem persists and doesn’t resolve itself quickly, talking with a specialist can help determine what steps should be taken to address the issues.
What can you do? Address your feelings about ED. Talk about them with a partner or a therapist, and if the problem persists consult a sexual health practitioner. Yoga, mindfulness, and meditation are all well-researched and effective methods for reducing stress. Remember, ED is not just a physical issue but a psychological one, too.
Being Active Out of Bed Makes You More Active In Bed
Staying in good health and physical condition is the best prevention but it may also be the most effective natural remedy for ED out there.
There are numerous statistics about overall health and how it lowers one’s risk for ED. Nutrition, fitness, and getting enough sleep alone will have a major impact on helping men resolve any sexual health issue. A fitness routine can start out as simple as a brisk walk three times a week and a few push-ups and sit-ups, then build up to lifting weights and more intensive cardiovascular workouts. The key is to be active and avoid a sedentary lifestyle. Try and find ways you can incorporate a little extra fitness into the things you already do. Park further away from the store, push mow your lawn, ride your bike to the store or to the gym and home.
Adopting a healthy lifestyle can reverse ED, but it also reduces your risk of developing it again. And while medication can certainly do the former, lifestyle changes are the only way to prevent ED from happening in the first place.
What If These Steps to Resolve ED Don’t Work?
If you’ve taken all these steps on your own and are still experiencing the symptoms of ED, it may be time to talk to a sexual health doctor who can help you create a long term plan.
These essential lifestyle changes will help you get the most out of any ED regimen. Men who include a lifestyle change with their prescription are more likely to regain a normal sex life and be healthier overall.
Make an appointment with us today if you’re ready to explore your sexual health options that include a spectrum of treatments that combine more traditional treatments with a whole person lifestyle approach to sexual wellness.