ED Treatment

7 Home Remedies For Erectile Dysfunction

June 17, 2021

First gracing the scene in the late nineties and early aughts, prescription ED medications like Viagra® and Cialis® are effective, commonly used treatments for erectile dysfunction.  Despite that they're now easily available from telemedicine providers like Rex MD, men often turn first to the internet for alternatives. 

And while there's no silver bullet among the "natural" alternatives sold online, here are seven ways you can combat the symptoms of ED at home. 

Better Diet

One of the leading risk factors for erectile dysfunction is diet and its impacts on the body. For example, foods that are high in fats can lead to high cholesterol, foods high in sodium can cause high blood pressure, and processed foods high in sugar can cause type 2 diabetes. 

Put most simply: medical conditions that affect the cardiovascular and endocrine system can play a dramatic role in your risk of ED.

Cutting back on these foods along with eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and lean proteins can significantly reduce the risk of developing these leading erectile dysfunction causes and improve health overall. 

One of the top diets associated with heart health is the Mediterranean diet, and while this lean diet has been challenged in recent years, the basic guidelines include:

  • Avoiding salt and employing other herbs and spices instead.
  • Eating seven to 10 servings of fruit and vegetables daily.
  • Eating seafood twice a week.
  • Looking for whole grain foods instead of refined grains.
  • Opting for low fat dairy products.
  • Replacing butter with an alternative like olive oil.
  • Adding more fish, beans, and poultry over red meat.

Following a diet like this can not only improve overall heart health, reduce the risk of developing a serious medical condition, and aid in improved blood flow, it can also help you to lose weight. Body mass index (BMI) is another leading indicator of ED risk. A higher BMI can lead to a higher risk for experiencing erectile dysfunction. Studies have shown that men with a BMI over 30 and men with a 42-inch waist have nearly 50% higher odds of experiencing erectile dysfunction when compared to men with a BMI under 25. 

Check Your Medications 

Erectile dysfunction is a common side effect of several different types of prescription medications. If you're taking any medications for otherwise unrelated physical or psychological condition, check to see if erectile dysfunction is a possible side effect. 

Some of the most common medications that are known to contribute to erectile dysfunction include:

  • Antiarrhythmics
  • Antidepressants
  • Antihistamines
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Antipsychotic drugs
  • Beta blockers
  • Chemotherapy
  • Cholesterol medications
  • Corticosteroids
  • Diuretics
  • Heart medications
  • High blood pressure medications
  • Hormone drugs
  • Male pattern baldness medications
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Opioids
  • Thiazides 
  • Tranquilizers

If you think that one or more of your prescription medications might be causing erectile dysfunction, it's still important to continue taking them as prescribed by your doctor. However, schedule an appointment with your prescribing physician to discuss alternative medications for the condition. In many cases, alternatives are available that may not carry the same side effects.

If no other medications or treatments are available, ask a clinician about a prescription medication to treat the symptoms of erectile dysfunction.   

Drink Less Alcohol 

Having a drink or two is a beloved way to unwind and relax, and it may even increase sexual desire. But excess alcohol consumption can lead to ED, both in the short-term and long-term if chronic alcohol abuse is an issue. 

Typically, drinking less than 14 alcoholic beverages a week will not impact erectile function, but that or more can lead to an increased risk of developing ED. 

Alcohol is a depressant and has a detrimental and suppressive effect on the central nervous system. The central nervous system plays a key role in the release of nitric oxide throughout the body, which helps to relax muscles in the penis and expand blood vessels. 

Heavy consumption of alcohol can impair the nervous system's ability to perform this task as well as dull its response to sexual stimulation. In the long term, over-consumption of alcohol can lead to permanent nerve and liver damage. In some cases, damage to the liver can even lead to an increased production of estrogen, the female sex hormone. Elevated estrogen levels can make it more difficult to achieve an erection.  

More Exercise 

Getting more physical exercise -- whether aerobic exercise like walking or jogging, or anaerobic exercises like weight lifting -- can have a tremendously positive effect on several physiological functions related to the erection process. 

For starters, exercise strengthens the the cardiovascular system, reducing strain and improving overall blood flow to all parts of the body, including the penis. 

It can also increase the amount of nitric oxide in the blood. This chemical compound is responsible for the expansion and dilation of blood vessels and relaxation of smooth muscles, two critical aspects of an erection. 

Lastly, exercise can increase the production of the sex hormone testosterone, which plays a significant role in men's overall sex drive. 

As every guy is different, there's no single exercise routine that guarantees the avoidance of erectile dysfunction. However, studies have shown that the risks of erectile dysfunction decrease when you get at least 40 minutes of exercise 3-4 days a week. 

Pelvic Floor Exercises 

By strengthening your pelvic floor muscles, you may be able to increase overall sexual performance as well as reduce the risk and symptoms of erectile dysfunction. Flexing and strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, which stretch from the pubic bone to the tailbone, places additional pressure on the arteries & veins in and supplying the penis, making it more difficult for blood to flow out. This can lead to a longer lasting and firmer erection. 

The process for these "Kegel" exercise is fairly simple and can be done laying down, sitting, standing, or even walking throughout the day:

1. Cut off your flow of urine midstream the next time you're in the bathroom to get an idea of the muscles on which you need to focus. These are the muscles that compose the pelvic floor.
2. When you've identified the proper muscles, flex and hold them for three to five seconds.
3. Release and completely relax your muscles.
4. Repeat this process 10 to 15 times to complete one set.
5. Perform two to three sets every day. 

Strengthening your pelvic floor as you age can help to prevent the onset of ED, as well as improve the symptoms if ED is something you're already dealing with.

Quality Sleep 

Getting enough sleep is extremely important to overall health, but it's also tied closely to certain sexual functions. During the sleep cycle, the body's internal clock dictates hormone release. These precursor hormones will often be converted into testosterone during high quality sleep. 

When we fail to get adequate sleep or are experiencing consistent low quality sleep, these precursor hormones can instead be converted into cortisol, a stress hormone. Cortisol is known to constrict blood vessels and reduce the flow of blood in the body. Sleep deprivation can not only lower testosterone, which can affect sex drive and erectile function, but by increasing cortisol can also lead to decreases in blood flow and elevated stress. 

Each of these factors alone can be enough to negatively impact sexual performance, but when combined the impact can be substantial. Try to get at least seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night. This may require making lifestyle changes or even prescription sleeping aids, but the benefits may be worth it. 

Quit Smoking 

It’s common knowledge that smoking is detrimental to physical health in a variety of ways, but it can also be a risk factor for erectile dysfunction. In fact, smokers are nearly two times as likely to experience erectile dysfunction as non-smokers. There are several reasons why. 

Nicotine is a known vasoconstrictor, meaning that it narrows and constricts blood vessels, making it harder for blood to flow properly. Nicotine can lead to elevated blood pressure and increased strain on the heart. 

Additionally, the chemicals found in tobacco products are known to damage the lining of blood vessels, called the endothelium. This thin membrane is responsible for controlling blood clotting and helps to produce nitric oxide, an essential chemical required for erections. 

The Takeaway: It's common for guys to experience erectile dysfunction occasionally, but if it's a frequent issue there are plenty of ways that you can reduce the regularity and severity of ED. Getting more exercise, eating a better diet, and cutting back on bad habits are the best ways to treat erectile dysfunction at home.

For the most part, these at-home remedies for ED may be enough to reduce the risk and symptoms of erectile dysfunction and its frequency. But for many guys, it's not enough.

A Rex MD clinician can determine if ED meds are right for you. Order online with our quick medical survey and, if approved, a healthcare professional writes a prescription for your medication. If prescribed, your meds are delivered to your door in discreet packaging and at affordable prices. Learn more and get started by clicking here.