What is Erectile Dysfunction:
Erectile Dysfunction, popularly known as impotence, is a condition when men find trouble achieving and keeping an erection firm enough for satisfactory sexual activity. E.D. is not just a few unsuccessful intercourses but a disorder that prevents a couple from satisfying sexual intercourse.
It should not be misunderstood as the lack of sexual desire and ejaculatory dysfunction. When a man is suffering from the problem of Erectile Dysfunction, he:
- fails to achieve an erection in the beginning of sexual intercourse
- finds difficulty in holding strong enough erection to penetrate
- loses stiffness before penetration
The disorder is prevalent in the adult and elderly male population and varies in severity. While some men completely fail to achieve an erection, some others can irregularly achieve and keep an erection. There are some others who can sustain brief erections.
Though not all men are open enough to discuss their E.D. problem with their physicians, statistics put the figure of affected men at 30 million in the US alone. The Massachusetts Male Aging research reports that 5% of the men aged 40 years are completely impotent, while 15% of those 70 years and above are suffering from the disorder.
Erectile Dysfunction Causes:
Since male sexual arousal involves the brain, emotions, hormones, nerves, blood vessels, and muscles, erectile dysfunction may be the result of a problem with any of these. The ability to achieve and sustain an erection requires
- healthy fibrous tissues and muscles within the corpora cavernosa
- healthy nervous system to conduct nerve impulse in the penis, spinal column, and brain
- healthy arteries within the corpora cavernosa
- proper nitric oxide levels in the penis
Erectile dysfunction can occur if one or more of these requirements are not met. Psychological problems, including stress and anxiety, and physical issues can cause or aggravate Erectile Dysfunction. Older men are more likely to be affected by erectile dysfunction, as they are more susceptible to cardiovascular diseases, heart attacks, strokes, angina, high blood pressure, and diabetes mellitus.
Erectile dysfunction may be the result of:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Cholesterol imbalances
- Clogged blood vessels
- Low testosterone
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Development of scar tissue in the penis
- Metabolic syndrome
- Tobacco/ alcohol use
- Certain prescription drugs, such as high blood pressure, antidepressants, antihistamines, appetite suppressants, tranquilizers. As of recently a possible connection with (thyroid drugs and ED)
- Injury to the pelvic area
- Prostate cancer treatment
- Treatment for enlarged prostate
Psychological Causes of Erectile Dysfunction
Since the brain controls most of the physical actions of the body, including those that cause an erection, a number of factors can cause or worsen erectile dysfunction, including:
- Stress, anxiety
- Poor communication
- Relationship problems
When a man is suffering from both physical and psychological problems, he finds it hard to overcome erectile dysfunction.
Preventing and Reversing Erectile Dysfunction
If you are experiencing some form of erectile dysfunction don’t worry, I’ve got good news for you. It is important that you go and get a complete medical evaluation, especially have your blood pressure, and circulation checked.
But what does blood pressure have to do with this? Glad you asked. Erectile Dysfunction could be the underlying cause of poor circulation and or blood pressure issues. Also get a detailed cardiac assessment, blood sugar tests, thyroid panel and start to make some lifestyle changes immediately.
Ei: stop smoking and drinking excessively, make diet improvements (cut out processed foods, weight management, exercise, and get at least 7 hours of solid sleep- insomnia, anyone?
Needless to say have your hormone levels tested– too much estrogen vs not enough testosterone, insulin resistance, leptin, and ghrelin. If your doctor won’t do it, find a functional medicine practitioner that will.
While prescription drugs can be used to treat the E.D. condition, there is a risk of several unpleasant side effects and they will only mask the condition. Contrarily, several alternative treatments are available to men just like you that are safe and effective to achieve an erection.
This Harvard study talks about five natural ways to overcome ED as follows:
- Start walking. According to one Harvard study, just 30 minutes of walking a day was linked with a 41% drop in risk for ED. Other research suggests that moderate exercise can help restore sexual performance in obese middle-aged men with ED.
- Eat right. In the Massachusetts Male Aging Study, eating a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and fish — with fewer red and processed meat and refined grains — decreased the likelihood of ED. Another tip: a chronic deficiency in vitamin B12 (I recommend sublingual Vitamin B12 ) may contribute to erectile dysfunction. A daily multivitamin and fortified foods are the best bets for those who absorb B12 poorly, including many older adults.
- Pay attention to your vascular health. High blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and high triglycerides can all damage arteries in the heart (causing heart attack), in the brain (causing stroke), and leading to the penis (causing ED). Low levels of HDL (good) cholesterol and an expanding waistline also contribute. Check with your doctor to find out whether your vascular system — and thus your heart, brain, and penis — is in good shape or needs a tune-up through lifestyle changes and, if necessary, medications.
- Size matters, so get slim and stay slim. A trim waistline is one good defense — a man with a 42-inch waist is 50% more likely to have ED than one with a 32-inch waist. Getting to a healthy weight and staying there is another good strategy for avoiding or fixing ED. Obesity raises risks for vascular disease and diabetes, two major causes of ED. And excess fat interferes with several hormones that may be part of the problem as well.
- Move a muscle, but we’re not talking about your biceps. A strong pelvic floor enhances rigidity during erections and helps keep blood from leaving the penis by pressing on a key vein. In a British trial, three months of twice-daily sets of Kegel exercises (which strengthen these muscles), combined with biofeedback and advice on lifestyle changes — quitting smoking, losing weight, limiting alcohol — worked far better than just advice on lifestyle changes.
Have you tried any of these methods or the conventional pills? I’d love to hear your story or comments below.References: Mayo Clinic/Mayo clinic ED/Miami University Urology University of Miami
Harvard Health Publications- Harvard Medical school