7 Natural Treatments for Erectile Dysfunction
By The Rex MD Editorial TeamMarch 18, 2021
Erectile dysfunction is more common than one might initially think. The Cleveland Clinic estimates that 1 in every 10 men will experience erectile dysfunction within their lifetime, and other research suggests half of men of 40 will deal with ED. This statistic sheds light on an issue that a large number of individuals will face.
The ability to sustain and get an erection impacts people's lives besides the mere physiology of attaining an erection. The effects of erectile dysfunction extend into the psychology and social pressures of men and can lead to additional issues. Relationship tension, social pressures, decreased self esteem, and other factors are all examples of these additional issues that erectile dysfunction can cause.
Luckily in the modern world, the mechanism of erectile dysfunction is well-understood and there are effective treatments. These consist of both natural treatment options as well as medical treatments.
Below is a look into some of the natural and medical treatments for erectile dysfunction. The aim of this article is to de-stigmatize the conversation surrounding erectile dysfunction and lay out the different options available to help facilitate and maintain an erection.
Natural Treatment Options for Erectile Dysfunction
During the beginning of modern medicine it was commonplace to prescribe a medication or utilize medical intervention immediately as a first response. While sometimes necessary, this methodology can be detrimental, as some conditions may not require medical intervention and may better be treated through other means.
One of the best examples of the consequences of the eagerness to treat with medication is seen in antibiotics. When first discovered, penicillin was prescribed at an astounding rate to help treat bacterial infections. While effective, over-prescription ultimately lead to the development of bacterial strains that are antibiotic resistant and therefore much more difficult to treat.
Today, the medical community and public are less likely to be so quick to prescribe medications and are more likely to seek and exhaust natural options. This more conservative approach to prescribing and treating is seen as a better methodology, as many ailments can be treated through natural lifestyle alterations.
ED medications have been incredibly effective in treating erectile dysfunction since they were introduced in the '90s. Most men who try them will find success rapidly. Still, some men may prefer to try natural or holistic healing approaches first, and it's not a bad idea to begin by addressing environmental or circumstantial issues first before jumping to medical intervention.
Below is a look at seven natural ways that can help to tackle erectile dysfunction. These methods include exercise, a healthy diet, acupuncture, eliminating tobacco, decreasing alcohol consumption, getting better sleep, and managing stress.
Today people are more likely to live a sedentary lifestyle than ever. Both leisurely activities and occupations have transitioned from being physical to sedentary; sports have been traded for television and manual labor has been replaced with desk jobs for a vast majority of people.
These sedentary trends have a large impact on our overall wellbeing, and reintroducing physical activity into your life can give you a new lease on your health. The Centers for Disease Control recommends getting 150 minutes of physical activity a week. While setting aside two and a half hours to exercise may seem like a daunting task, if broken up throughout the week it is equivalent to roughly 30 minutes of activity a day.
A systematic review found that in many different studies, increasing physical activity for six months was linked to decreased erectile problems. Exercise, especially aerobic exercise, acts by improving circulatory health, which is a vital component of getting and sustaining an erection. Improving your cardiovascular health through regular exercise can decrease erectile dysfunction caused by a poor circulation. Additionally, losing body fat and maintaining a healthier body weight can also aid in your ability to get an erection.
When people are presented with a situation that requires lifestyle changes to become healthier, one of their first inclinations is to diet. Participating in fad diets, while effective in losing weight, ultimately is not the most productive when trying to facilitate a healthier lifestyle. Choosing a diet that is sustainable and one that gets you all your adequate nutrition is a much better use of your time and effort.
If paired with exercise, finding a sustainable healthy diet becomes even more important. Exercise requires proper nutrition through the food that you eat. With adequate nutrition and exercise, you're able to increase the effectiveness of your lifestyle modifications. The main component of finding a sustainable diet is ensuring you're getting your daily dose of essential vitamins and minerals. Without these nutrients, you may cause more harm than good.
One example of this is if you have a deficiency in vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked with erectile dysfunction. If you are trying to lose weight through diet to decrease your ED symptoms and omit vital nutrients like vitamin D, you could be back to square one.
While getting pricked with a needle may not seem natural, acupuncture is considered a holistic and natural treatment method. Like many holistic medical treatments, the utilization of acupuncture for treating erectile dysfunction is not evidence-based. This means that the method is not traditionally backed by science and is not a proven form of treatment.
While it may sound a little hard to believe, multiple studies have shown that participants reported that the acupuncture treatment was helpful. Ultimately the utilization of acupuncture as a treatment option needs more randomized clinical trials to determine its effectiveness. Until then, utilizing acupuncture for the treatment of ED remains an unproven and unvalidated possible treatment at best.
Whether it's eating junk food, binging TV shows, or smoking, most people have some sort of vice. Smoking, of course, is one of the most detrimental on many aspects of your health. This includes your circulatory and respiratory system, which are necessary to proper erectile function.
The effects that smoking has on your circulatory system can also impact your ability to attain and sustain an erection. Smoking can lead to atherosclerosis, a condition in which the buildup of plaque within the arteries causes them to narrow and harden, decreasing circulatory efficiency.
During an erection, blood is delivered to the penis through arteries. When the circulatory system is operating sub-optimally, it can cause what is known as vascular erectile dysfunction. Essentially, vascular erectile dysfunction is the limitation of blood flow to the penis. Vascular disease is not unique to the penis as vascular disease can affect nearly every organ in your body.
Smoking cessation is one of the best things you can do for your vascular health and could be helpful in overcoming ED.
Decrease Alcohol Consumption
An occasional drink is nothing to worry about, but excessive drinking can render you temporarily having a difficult time getting an erection. It is common knowledge that drinking leads to decreased cognitive ability, but it is less known that it can impact your ability to gain an erection. This is especially the case in those that have a dependence on alcohol.
When you drink, alcohol is quickly absorbed and many feel the effects within the hour. It's thought that alcohol consumption can lead to ED through two different ways. The first is that alcohol in some capacity interferes with the brain's signaling pathway to attain an erection. The other proposed way that alcohol induces ED is through its dehydrating effects.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is an important and still underappreciated part of your lifestyle, and while the exact reasoning behind why we sleep is not fully understood, it is known that sleep plays a key role in maintaining a proper hormone balance.
Some forms of erectile dysfunction are caused by an underlying hormonal imbalance. Getting enough sleep can give your body the best shot at maintaining a healthy hormone balance, general wellbeing, and proper energy to decrease your chances of ED.
Stress is part of life, and while often short-lived, it can have detrimental effects on your health gone unchecked. Chronic stress can wreak havoc on your health due partly to the release of cortisol. Cortisol is a hormonal signal that tells your body to decrease unessential bodily function and divert energy to vital organs like the heart, lungs, and muscles. When in a constant stressed state, the body continually diverts its attention to these organs and decreases functions like digestion and other non-immediate essential functions.
Chronic stress and associated elevated cortisol levels have shown a correlation with erectile dysfunction. If you have been feeling stressed, finding an effective means of managing your stress can allow you to treat the ED associated with stress or anxiety.
While there are many lifestyle modifications you can make to improve the symptoms and underlying causes of ED, sometimes medical intervention is the best option. Maintaining general confidence can be difficult when you're dealing with ED, not to mention a healthy sex life. For many guys, ED is just a matter of getting older.
Medical intervention with prescription ED medications can give you immediate results, and it doesn't have to be an involved process.
ED medications have been well studied and millions of people worldwide use them as an effective means of attaining an erection. Viagra®, Cialis®, and Levitra® are a few of these medications. If you find yourself having difficulty getting an erection during those intimate moments, reach out to REX MD and a licensed physician can help guide you to the right ED solution for you. Telehealth is revolutionizing the way men attain ED treatment, and allowing more men than ever to get the treatment they need.
Erectile dysfunction happens, and it's not something that needs to hold you back. There are many lifestyle alterations, natural treatment options, and medically proven treatments that can help. Reading this article is the first step into you taking control of your health and your ED. Equipped with a little knowledge, you can become an active participant in your health and make real changes that can improve your overall wellbeing.
- ED BasicsED Treatment
Many factors can contribute to erectile dysfunction, some physical but many mental or emotional. Is stress or anxiety contributing to your ED?Read more
Overcome erectile dysfunction with open and candid conversations in conjunction with quality ED treatment, leaving both partners satisfied.Read more
- ED BasicsLifestyle
“Pornography addiction” is increasingly listed as a concern for men dealing with erectile dysfunction. But is pornography-induced ED real?Read more
- ED Basics
Smoking has been linked to erectile dysfunction in numerous studies, and it's a key risk factor for developing ED no matter your age.Read more