Most men will experience at least one episode of not being able to achieve an erection when desired.
In more extreme, rare cases, they might not be able to ever achieve or maintain a suitable erection.
Getting an erection is a complex process that requires your body’s nerves, blood vessels, blood flow, and hormones to work together.
If you’ve experienced erectile dysfunction, you’re not alone.
About 30 million men in the United States are affected by this form of sexual dysfunction.
And most of these cases occur in men who were previously able to sustain an erection.
Several pills and treatments are advertised for erectile dysfunction (ED), but can it be cured?
We’ll take a look at that in the article below.
What Is Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction, sometimes referred to as impotence, is the inability to get an erection suitable for intercourse.
Having trouble achieving an erection from time to time isn’t a cause for concern, but when it becomes a consistent issue, you may need intervention.
Erectile dysfunction can cause stress, affect your self-confidence and lead to relationship problems. This can also cause stress which can cause ED to worsen. Check out our article How Does Stress Affect Erectile Dysfunction, to learn more.
Issues sustaining an erection can also signify an underlying health condition like cardiovascular disease that needs treatment.
If you’re worried about your erectile dysfunction, you need to speak to a doctor.
It’s nothing to be embarrassed about, and you shouldn’t ignore it because it could be a risk factor for heart disease.
As far as “cures” go, sometimes treating an underlying condition is enough to reverse erectile dysfunction.
Or medications or other direct treatments might be needed.
Erectile Dysfunction Symptoms
The symptoms of erectile function are self-explanatory.
The symptoms of erectile dysfunction are erections that are too soft for sexual intercourse, brief erections, or an inability to achieve erections.
Men who cannot achieve or maintain an erection at least 75% of the time that they try to engage in intercourse are considered to have erectile dysfunction.
Who Is At Risk For Erectile Dysfunction?
Sexual dysfunction becomes more common for men as they age.
The Massachusetts Male Aging Study found that about 40% of men experience some degree of inability to have or maintain an erection at age 40.
Compare that to 70% of men at age 70.
The percentage of men diagnosed with erectile dysfunction increases from 5% to 15% as their age increases from 40 to 70 years.
Fortunately, erectile dysfunction can be treated and is potentially reversible at any age.
Is Erectile Dysfunction Curable?
Fortunately, there are reversible or “curable” causes of ED.
These are the cases that have an obvious cause the can be stopped, like blood pressure drugs and other medications, cigarettes, drugs, or alcohol.
ED is also caused by being overweight or obese, high stress and anxiety, or relationship difficulties.
Cases like these may be harder to remedy, but if you can lose weight, find stress relief techniques that work for you, and work through your relationship issues, your ED will likely go away.
There are other treatable causes of ED.
These conditions can’t be cured entirely, like hormonal imbalances, depression, anxiety, high cholesterol, but there are treatment options that can improve them.
When the conditions are improved, the ED they cause often improves, too.
Causes Of ED That Can Be Cured
Side Effects of Medication
Medications that can cause erectile dysfunction make up about 1/4 of all cases of ED.
High blood pressure medications called diuretics are the biggest offenders.
There are also some antidepressants, especially SSRIs and SNRIs, drugs for indigestion, antihistamines, and some opioid painkillers that cause ED.
Medications for Parkinson’s disease, chemotherapies, and prostate cancer treatments can cause ED to a lesser degree.
If you have started taking a new medication and experience ED, talk to the doctor who prescribed it to you.
They might lower your dose or tell you to stop taking it altogether and switch you to another medication with a lower risk for ED.
Drugs and Nicotine
Many people think that using alcohol, marijuana, and drugs like cocaine, heroin, methadone, amphetamines, or barbiturates can help with sexual confidence and arousal.
However, the truth is quite the opposite.
Any of these substances can make it much harder to get and maintain a satisfying erection.
So skip the drugs. They will only lead to disappointment.
And nicotine, whether it’s smoked or vaped, will also affect your ability to get hard.
If you are experiencing sexual dysfunction, take a look at some of your habits:
Are you a smoker? Do you drink, use marijuana or other substances regularly?
If you do, there’s a good chance these habits could be causing your erectile problems.
Having excess fat around your waist and obesity can cause erectile dysfunction.
It also increases your risk of type 2 diabetes, unhealthy blood sugar levels, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
Obesity also lowers your testosterone levels, and low testosterone levels often affect your sex drive and ability to maintain an erection too.
If you are obese and have diabetes, losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight through healthier eating and regular exercise, and blood sugar control can have many benefits to your mental and physical health.
Improving erectile dysfunction is one of the benefits if you are able to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Types of Treatments For ED
Short-term ED Treatments
Short-term treatments will help you achieve or maintain an erection, but they don’t help the underlying cause of your ED.
Viagra will increase the blood flow and blood supply to your penis, providing short-term relief from ED, but it does nothing to address the cause of your ED.
Medications like viagra can help people with a medical history, including diabetes and atherosclerosis, to get erections.
Addressing the Underlying Cause of Erectile Dysfunction
Long-term or primary treatment will address the underlying cause of your ED.
If blood vessel damage or clogged arteries are responsible, taking medication or exercising more often can help with cardiovascular disease.
A treatment plan that addresses your underlying issue can eliminate ED or reduce the frequency it occurs.
It’s not unusual for the cause of erectile dysfunction to be psychological.
And, ED itself can lead to anxiety, exacerbating your condition.
Psychological treatments help to reduce psychological issues like anxiety, increase self-confidence, and improve relationships with sexual partners.
Successful psychological treatments can also increase the odds that other treatments are effective and improve physical health issues.
Many men find that intense anxiety about sex prevents other treatments from working.
Addressing this underlying anxiety often improves overall results.
Sex Therapy Or Couples Counseling
It’s estimated that 10% to 25% of men with erectile dysfunction don’t have any known risk factors.
Known as non-organic ED, this condition may be caused by mental health issues like depression or anxiety while having sex.
A study in 2020 found that cognitive behavior sex therapy (CBST) and medication were effective on their own at reducing non-organic ED.
CBST was more effective at lowering anxiety among study participants.
It has also helped many men with ED to attend counseling with their partner to help them understand your condition and how they can be supported.
Natural Treatments For Erectile Dysfunction
As a natural ED treatment, exercise often has the greatest impact.
Exercise works on several fronts to combat ED and help reverse it once it has become a problem.
Exercise will improve blood flow, which is critical to maintaining a solid erection, and it improves blood pressure by increasing nitric oxide in blood vessels.
Strength training and weight-bearing exercises can increase the natural production of testosterone, which is a significant factor in erectile strength and sex drive.
Nothing else will work as effectively and quickly as exercise when it comes to lifestyle modifications to treat your ED.
Next to exercise, eating a healthy, balanced diet is an excellent way to help maintain sexual function and decrease your risk of ED.
One diet, in particular, is excellent at lowering the chance of developing ED.
The Mediterranean diet, which focuses on eating less red meat and more fruits and vegetables, may significantly lower your chance of ED.
In addition to eating less red meat, people on the Mediterranean diet primarily eat:
Eating more fruits, vegetables, and flavonoids has been found to lower the risk of ED in men ages 18 to 40.
Not getting adequate sleep and poor sleep patterns can also be contributing factors to erectile dysfunction.
There is an intricate relationship between sex hormones like testosterone, sexual function, and sleep.
Testosterone levels increase with improved sleep, and as we’ve already learned, lower levels are associated with sexual dysfunction.
Your body’s internal clock controls hormone secretion.
Healthy sleep patterns likely help the body determine the best times to release certain hormones.
Keeping up with a set sleep schedule is a natural erectile dysfunction remedy, helping to ensure that those signals are clear and consistent.
ED is significantly more common in men who are overweight, obese, or have a larger waist circumference.
Gastric bypass surgery improves blood vessel health and ED among extremely obese men.
There’s a similar improvement in ED after bariatric surgery.
If your weight contributes to your ED, apart from getting these surgeries, exercise and a balanced diet can help you lose weight and improve your ED.
Is There A Quick Fix For ED?
We’ve all seen supplements for erectile dysfunction, but do they work?
Many products claim to be an instant cure for ED, but there’s not a quick fix.
If you’re looking for things to help with ED, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, a supplement may claim to be natural, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe.
Some supplements interfere with other medications or aggravate underlying health conditions.
Always talk to your doctor before taking them.
Products labeled as “herbal Viagra” often contain other medications that aren’t mentioned on the label.
And ED can be a sign of an underlying health condition like heart disease, nerve damage, or hormone imbalances that need to be treated.
That’s why you should visit ED treatment centers instead of looking for a quick fix on your own.
Contact The ED Specialist At Choice Men’s Health
Many men get frustrated with ED, but it’s important to remember that the condition is treatable and sometimes curable.
ED is very common and can usually be reversed by treating underlying conditions or using natural remedies.
Early intervention can often detect a severe medical condition, and determining the cause of ED early may increase the likelihood of reversing it.
Choice Men’s Health can help with customized ED treatment plans so you can lead a happier, healthier life.
If you have questions about erectile dysfunction, Choice Men’s Health in Atlanta, Georgia, has been helping men enjoy a healthy sex life for years.