Erectile dysfunction, which the Cleveland Clinic defines as “an inability to achieve or sustain an erection suitable for sexual intercourse,” is a problem affecting mostly older men, but younger men can develop the condition as well. Erectile dysfunction is often a result of an underlying health condition, medication use, psychological problems, and injury. Treatments for erectile dysfunction (ED) include medication, the use of devices, surgery, and psychological counseling.
However, certain lifestyle changes and natural remedies can also help treat ED. Research shows that natural treatments work best for mild ED, but also that they increase the effectiveness of conventional remedies in severe ED. In case you were considering taking a natural approach to treating your sexual dysfunction, here are 7 options proven to be helpful.
Of all natural treatments for ED, exercise is often considered the best option available. Exercising can treat almost all problems that may be causing your ED. And while any exercise will work, medical experts have focused mostly on aerobic training because this type of training improves blood flow and increases nitric oxide production.
A systematic review of the studies examining the effectiveness of exercise in treating ED, and that was recently published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, concluded that exercise improved erection quality in most men and that aerobic exercising was most effective. If your ED is a result of a blood vessel disorder, then you can expect to see an improvement in erection quality as exercising will improve blood flow to the penis.
A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is considered healthy. In addition to this, avoiding excess sugar, saturated fats, and limiting your alcohol intake is another component of healthy eating. If your ED is a result of obesity, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease, then being mindful about your eating habits will reverse ED by improving your overall health. Studies show that cardiovascular disease and diabetes account for the majority of ED cases.
Luckily, these diseases can easily be prevented and treated with simple diet and lifestyle changes. Eating a balanced diet can also help you lose weight, control your blood sugar levels, improve your blood lipid profile, and reduce whole-body inflammation. As a result, healthy eating will not only treat your ED but make you feel much healthier.
Try Relaxation Techniques
Yoga, meditation, tai chi, and breathing exercises are just some options that can help you learn how to relax. If your ED is caused by psychological distress, then you may especially benefit from relaxation therapy. Prolonged stress is the leading cause of most chronic illnesses. When not controlled, stress can wreak havoc on your health and well-being.
You may not know it, but stress is also associated with heart disease and diabetes, both conditions that are tightly linked to erectile dysfunction. However, if you find that the above-mentioned relaxation techniques do not work for you, then fishing, hiking, walking, and anything that can induce a state of calmness in you will work just as well.
Herbal and Natural Supplements
In alternative and traditional medicine, ED is usually treated with the help of herbs and nutrients. These natural treatment options may work just as well as conventional medicine while also causing least side effects. The most effective options are ginseng and pomegranate, both of which increase nitric oxide (NO) production. NO is a vasodilator important for normal erections. However, some herbal remedies such as Tribulus Terrestris are believed to help treat ED by stimulating the production of testosterone. In cases where ED is a result of low testosterone, taking supplements containing this herb could be helpful.
Avoid Tobacco and Alcohol
Smoking is known to narrow important blood vessels and in this way, contribute to ED. If you already suffer from cardiovascular disease, then quitting smoking will help you treat both ED and the underlying condition. You can also benefit from limiting your intake of alcohol because alcohol is a central nervous system depressant.
Since the central nervous system controls the production of NO, any depressing effect on it will result in decreased NO production. Furthermore, long-term alcohol misuse can damage the blood vessels and nerves important for maintaining normal erections. Limiting or completely discarding these unhealthy habits is a good way to treat ED.
Try Pelvic Floor Training
You may have heard of pelvic floor training and the most popular type called Kegels which you’ll often see being recommended to women of childbearing age. This type of training involves strengthening the pelvic floor by squeezing and releasing the muscles that you use to control urine flow. However, Kegels is now seen as beneficial for men with ED.
Pelvic floor training was found to be helpful in treating ED in men with nerve damage following prostate surgery. However, pelvic floor training can help many other men with ED as it helps improve the functioning of the key muscles controlling your erections and that are found in the pelvic floor.
Get Enough Sleep
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every day. Sleep is an important physiological process that helps regulate hormonal and metabolic functioning. Any sleep problem leads to a disruption in normal bodily functioning, and this can manifest as ED among other things. Poor sleep quality is associated with reduced testosterone production. It is also associated with an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. If you have any sleep disturbances, do speak to your doctor about your issues so that you can get adequate treatment.
Erectile dysfunction is a fairly common problem in older men that is now easily corrected with a wide range of treatment options. However, conventional treatments may come with their own set of side effects. This is why some men opt for a more natural approach to treating ED. Natural options include exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, using herbal remedies, and even taking natural supplements. However, which one will work for you depends on the underlying cause of your ED. So, make sure to speak to your doctor about your problem, and they will help you determine the best treatment option.