If you’ve begun to notice subtle signals that getting — and keeping — an erection is no longer as easy as it once was, now’s the time to take action to prevent matters from getting any worse.
Of course, men in their 30s and 40s are unlikely to experience the near-spontaneous — and embarrassing — erections of their teenage years.
However, any noticeable deterioration in erectile function from what it was only a few weeks or months ago should be your signal to make some lifestyle changes that can help stave off full-blown erectile dysfunction.
Unwise lifestyle choices pave the way to erection problems that arise when blood flow to your penis is no longer strong enough to support healthy erectile function. Telltale problems may be an increased difficulty in getting an erection or an inability to sustain the erection through completion of sexual activity.
Trade Unhealthy for Healthy
Trading in those unhealthy lifestyle choices for alternatives that promote strong erectile function can help to reverse these early warning signs of ED and improve your game in the bedroom. And the easiest way to start is with a serious examination of what are probably the two main pillars of a healthy lifestyle — diet and exercise.
While the causes of ED can be traced to both physiological — usually vascular in nature — and psychological origins, the former is estimated to account for roughly 80 percent of all male impotence. And choosing the right kind of diet and adopting a regular program of physical exercise will go a long way toward preventing the vascular problems that account for most ED.
Even if your erection problem is psychological in origin, choosing to live a healthy lifestyle can benefit you as well although it probably won’t reverse your symptoms of impotence.
Can Also Prevent Other Health Problems
As if improving erectile function weren’t reward enough, eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can help to prevent even more serious health problems in the future. The clogged arteries that can cause erection problems are tiny when compared with those that supply the heart and brain. But if the tiny arteries are getting clogged by a buildup of fatty plaques on artery walls, it’s pretty certain that those bigger arteries are being similarly damaged as well. And although it may take longer to noticeably impair blood flow to those more vital organs, it will probably happen eventually. Unless, of course, you change your ways.
While there’s a certain logic behind the association of a healthier lifestyle and better erectile function, there is also some impressive scientific evidence to back it up. In a study published in the January-February 2015 issue of the “Asian Journal of Andrology,” medical researchers from the University of Naples found a clear link between unhealthy lifestyle choices and the prevalence of ED.
Healthful Lifestyles Yield Big Benefits
On the hopeful side, the Italian research team concluded that “promotion of healthful lifestyles would yield great benefits in reducing the burden of sexual dysfunction.” The team submitted evidence from clinical trials that positive lifestyle modifications were effective in reducing the incidence of ED and restoring erectile function in some study participants.
To lower the risk of erection problems or improve erectile function in those who may have experienced declines, WebMD.com recommends a diet low in saturated fats but one that includes generous portions of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The diet should also avoid foods high in cholesterol, specifically low-density lipoprotein (LDL), also known as bad cholesterol. Conversely, high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, helps to keep LDL levels in check and is beneficial in preventing the buildup of fatty plaques on artery walls, a condition known as atherosclerosis.
Exercise Program Is Also a Must
Going hand in hand with a healthy diet, says WebMD, is a program of regular exercise, which ideally should include physical activities that you enjoy and thus are more likely to continue. Exercise not only reduces the risk of ED, but it also can help to manage stress, which can also lead to erection problems.
Going beyond WebMD’s broad outline of an erection-friendly eating plan, Prostate.net claims that “a diet that is rich in antioxidants, which can be found in fruits and vegetables, legumes, and nuts, boosts production of nitric oxide, and prevents its breakdown.” Nitric oxide is a key player in erectile function. It is a neurotransmitter that the brain sends coursing toward the male genitals in response to sexual arousal. But it differs from other neurotransmitters in that it is a fat-soluble molecule that can diffuse readily into other cells, even those not connected by synapses. Most neurotransmitters carry information only from a presynaptic neuron to a postsynaptic neuron.
Certain Nutrients Extra Helpful
Prostate.net also recommends a diet that includes foods high in folic acid and vitamins C and E, all of which support the pathways leading to the release of nitric oxide. Omega-3 fatty acids, which stimulate the release of nitric oxide from the endothelium, also help to prevent ED. To further support nitric oxide production and effectiveness, Prostate.net recommends reducing your consumption of sugar, fat, and simple carbohydrates, which tend to interfere with nitric oxide production
Coupling a heart-healthy diet with exercise provides an even greater defense against the deterioration of erectile function, according to the International Society for Sexual Medicine. Physical activity invigorates the circulatory system, which in turn is essential for optimal erectile function. But the benefits of exercise extend beyond improving penile blood flow, says ISSM. “Staying fit keeps a man’s weight under control, may increase his testosterone levels, and boosts his confidence. It can also reduce depression and anxiety. These factors can affect erections as well as other aspects of sexual health.”
Let Doctor Help Design Your Exercise Program
Your exercise program should be tailored to your personal capabilities and needs and ideally should be mapped out with the counsel of your doctor. According to an earlier article at AccessRx.com, a Harvard study linked 30 minutes of walking per day to a 41 percent reduction in ED risk. And moderate exercise, according to a 2004 clinical study, helped to restore erectile function in a cohort of middle-aged, obese men with ED.
For men whose erection problems are caused by insufficient blood flow to the penis, Viagra and the other impotence drugs known as PDE5 inhibitors can help to temporarily restore erectile function. Although healthy lifestyle changes may eventually allow a man to regain normal erectile function on his own, PDE5 inhibitors can help support erectile function while those lifestyle changes work their magic.
Available Only by Prescription
Under current regulations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, PDE5 inhibitors are available only by prescription. If you have a prescription from your doctor, you can have it filled at your neighborhood pharmacy or opt instead to order the drug from a reliable online supplier such as AccessRx.com. If you decide to go the online route, simply fax or scan and email the prescription along with your order to AccessRx.
Alternatively, AccessRx can arrange a complimentary online consultation with a member of its team of licensed U.S. physicians. If you are found to be an appropriate candidate for the drug, a prescription will be authorized. To learn more about ED and its cause, as well as the drugs available to treat it, click below to reach AccessRx’s Erectile Dysfunction page.