Table of Contents
Erectile dysfunction is a condition characterized by the persistent inability to achieve or maintain an erection long enough for sexual intercourse. Researchers have found that psychological and physical factors influence the development of ED. By 2025, the prevalence of ED is expected to hit 322 million across the world.
As ED research continues, there are many treatments and medications available to assist in the symptoms of ED. ED treatments like Viagra are commonly prescribed. These medications relax the penis and allow greater blood flow to the male genitalia when sexual stimulation is present. Medications help millions of men have a satisfying sex life, but there are several steps you can take to prevent ED. Read on to learn more. 1
Keep Your Body Moving
Male sexual health may not appear directly related to your physical well-being, but the two are intricately linked. Strong evidence suggests that a sedentary lifestyle can lead to erectile dysfunction. If you do not regularly exercise, you may want to start with a 30-minute brisk walk every day and work your way to more intense cardiovascular routines. Swimming and running have been shown to help prevent symptoms of ED.
It is also important to participate in physical activities that do not pose a risk of injury to the male reproductive system. You may want to avoid exercise that puts excessive pressure on the perineum (the area between the scrotum and anus). If this area is injured, it can adversely affect the penis. If you like to bike ride, you may want to invest in padded cycling pants to prevent genital numbness and possible sexual dysfunction problems. 2
Monitor Your Testosterone Levels
As the body ages, hormone levels in men and women dip and change. Testosterone is created in the testes for men, and production may lessen over time, causing several bodily complications. For most men, testosterone levels fall sharply from the age of 50 and onward. Symptoms of low testosterone include:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Lack of stamina
- Trouble making decisions
- Unsatisfactory erections
- Lack of interest in sex
- Loss of muscle mass
- Increased body fat
- Decreased bone mass 2
If you notice any of the above symptoms, you may want to talk to your doctor about getting a testosterone test. A simple blood test can be taken to confirm the amount of hormones in your body. Your doctor will determine if your symptoms are related to medications you take or a problem with your hormone production. A testosterone replacement drug may be recommended if your levels are severely low. 3
Avoid Anabolic Steroids
Many men are drawn to the allure of anabolic steroids to help increase their muscle mass. Anabolic steroids are synthetic growth hormones that increase male sex characteristics. Some people may be prescribed steroids for health reasons, including growth delays in young people and bone loss prevention in older adults. These are acceptable reasons for taking synthetic hormones, but many men take them to gain muscle mass quickly and improve their athletic ability. 4
If you start to use anabolic steroids, you may affect your body's ability to produce testosterone, causing ED, testicle shrinkage, acne, and low libido. If you stop using anabolic steroids, these symptoms often go away on their own. If they persist, you should contact your doctor. 5
Maintain Open Communication with Your Partner
As mentioned above, erectile dysfunction is usually caused by a combination of psychological and physical symptoms. If you are experiencing problems with your partner, it can take a toll on your sex life. On the flip side, your ED may be caused by another condition, and it is important to be open and honest with your partner to make sure they understand what you are going through.
If you remain closed off and embarrassed, your ED condition may become affected by stress in your relationship. This is a cycle that can be avoided with honest conversations about your sex life. This is easier said than done for some people, but if you want to invest in your sexual and personal health, you may want to enlist the help of a couple's therapist to promote helpful communication. Communication and ED medications like Cialis can significantly improve symptoms. 6
Eating healthy is beneficial to everyone, but eating certain foods may improve ED and reduce male sexual dysfunction. The Massachusetts Male Aging Study found that a diet rich in natural foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and fish can benefit ED. Limiting processed food and red meats is also recommended. 7
Other diet tips include:
Eat some cacao: Some researchers suggest eating foods like cacao can reduce the instances of ED. A diet high in flavonoid-rich foods (a type of antioxidant) can increase blood flow in the body, playing a role in achieving an erection. Other sources of flavonoids include wine, tea, nuts, and grains.
Grab a decaf: One 2015 study found that there was a link between caffeine consumption and ED. Those who drank less caffeine had fewer instances of male sexual dysfunction. This has not been fully proven, but you may want to limit your consumption and see if it makes a difference to your sexual health.
Find some lycopene: Lycopene is a substance found in tomatoes and other red fruits and vegetables. It is a powerful antioxidant used to lower high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and may improve erectile dysfunction. Other sources of lycopene include watermelon, grapefruit, papaya, and red peppers. 8
The content in this article is intended for informational purposes only. This website does not provide medical advice. In all circumstances, you should always seek the advice of your physician and/or other qualified health professionals(s) for drug, medical condition, or treatment advice. The content provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.