In the United States alone, it affects about 30 million adult men.
Many people believe that erectile dysfunction occurs when one gets older, but your sexual health actually relies on several factors.
These include your weight, what you eat, your blood pressure, the health of your heart and blood vessels, how well your nerves work, and the medications you take.
Even things like how stressed you are at work or in your personal life can affect your ability to get and keep an erection.
The good news is that you can control many of these factors.
[Related: Can A Vasectomy Cause Erectile Dysfunction?]
In the article below, we will go over several steps you can take to prevent erectile dysfunction.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Studies have shown that the risk of ED decreases and sexual function improves if you eat a diet rich in natural foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish and less red and processed meats and refined grains.
A study of more than 21,000 men found that those who followed the Mediterranean diet or the Alternative Healthy Eating Index 2010 diet were the least likely to deal with erectile dysfunction.
These diets focus on consuming lots of vegetables, fruit, nuts, legumes (beans), fish, or other sources rich in omega-3 fatty acids and avoiding foods high in saturated fat.
And if you enjoy a heart-healthy diet, your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels will all decrease.
Vascular insufficiencies, not low testosterone levels, are the leading causes of erectile dysfunction.
Smoking or using nicotine is one reason why some individuals develop peripheral vascular diseases.
People who smoke have bad blood vessels and low vascular elasticity. Smoking often leads to problems with getting and keeping an erection.
Watch Your Blood Pressure
Blood flow and proper blood circulation is the key to healthy, steady erections.
Because of this, anything that affects your cardiovascular system, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol, could affect your ability to get and keep an erection.
Poor vascular health and high blood pressure are linked to erectile dysfunction and other sexual dysfunctions.
This may be because high blood pressure can adversely affect the health of your heart and blood vessels.
Even if you’re healthy, you should check your blood pressure regularly.
If your blood pressure is higher than usual, you must talk with your doctor about what you can do.
For instance, if your blood pressure is just slightly high, then you may want to make some small changes to your diet or lifestyle by adding moderate exercise.
To lower your blood pressure, your doctor may suggest reducing the amount of salt in your diet, getting more exercise, or taking steps to relax and calm down.
Since blood flow is crucial for a healthy erection, many changes can also help you get a better erection.
In addition to making changes to your lifestyle, several medicines can lower your blood pressure and improve your heart health.
However, blood pressure medications can also cause ED. So if you are prescribed blood pressure drugs, keep that in mind if your ED doesn’t improve.
A sedentary lifestyle can also cause ED.
People who suffer from erectile dysfunction due to lack of physical activity, poor blood flow, obesity, low testosterone levels, or cardiovascular diseases will benefit most from exercising regularly.
Aerobic exercise lowers blood pressure and blood sugar, improves blood flow all over the body, makes the heart more robust, and helps you maintain a healthy weight.
It’s also a natural way to raise the level of testosterone, which can increase your sex drive and prevent ED.
Burning fat also lowers the risk of vascular disease and diabetes, two of the most common causes of ED.
If you want to eliminate your ED, you don’t always have to make significant changes in your physical activity.
Small changes in how much you do can make a difference.
Just six minutes of activity, such as daily walking, can lessen your risk of developing ED.
Moderate physical activity can improve erectile dysfunction among overweight men who are 40 years old or older.
And working out has several other health benefits, so it’s a win-win.
If you’ve had erectile dysfunction before the age of 50, you may be at risk for having undiagnosed cardiovascular disease.
Before starting treatment for erection problems, you could be sent for a heart checkup.
If ED starts early, it could be a sign of cardiovascular disease.
Reduce Alcohol Intake
Small amounts of alcohol might not have much of an effect on sexual function.
But heavy alcohol use is a major factor for erectile dysfunction and low libido.
One-fourth of adults in the US tend to drink too much, which can negatively affect your sex life.
Therefore, excessive drinking and alcohol consumption is a significant factor in the development of ED.
Not only that, but alcohol intake may also cause premature ejaculation and lessen your sex drive.
Drinking less alcohol may be helpful for some men who want to improve their erectile dysfunction.
This suggests that reducing alcohol use can improve erection quality leading to harder erections and improved sexual health.
Take Your Mental Health Seriously
ED is also dependent on psychological factors.
Mental health has a huge impact on nearly everything related to sex, from your ability to get and maintain an erection to your overall satisfaction during intercourse.
Erections start when the mind is stimulated.
As your nervous system talks to the nerves around your penis, blood flows into your erectile tissue.
This helps you get hard and stay hard during sex.
Mental health conditions, like major depressive disorder and sexual dysfunction, may interfere with this procedure and make it harder to achieve an erection.
Countless men suffer from sexual performance anxiety, a type of anxiety related to sex and a common cause of psychogenic erectile dysfunction.
Mindfulness meditations, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and medications like ED drugs and antidepressants can be used to treat certain mental illnesses and sexual performance anxieties.
If mental health issues are causing ED or affecting your sex life, then it’s important to seek help.
Some mental health problems need to be treated with medicine, but many can be fixed with things like individual or group therapy.
Avoid High Cholesterol
High cholesterol makes you more likely to get heart disease or diabetes, which can cause ED.
People with high cholesterol levels are more likely to get atherosclerosis, a disease that makes the walls of blood vessel walls harden and narrow.
Atherosclerosis makes it harder for blood to get through them the blood vessels, and blood won’t be able to reach the penis during sexual activity.
One of the first symptoms of heart disease is the lack of blood flowing into the penile arteries, which means there isn’t enough blood flowing to get and maintain an erection.
Eating a heart-healthy diet, regular exercise, and taking a statin or another prescription cholesterol-lowering drug can lower cholesterol levels, lowering your risk of heart disease and possibly making your ED symptoms disappear.
Diabetes is now one of the main reasons why men have ED.
Diabetes is a highly complex disease, and there are many ways in which it can make it hard to get an erection.
High blood sugar makes you more likely to get vascular diseases, which can worsen blood flow to the penis or cavernous tissues.
Diabetes may also increase your chances of having peripheral nerves, which could lead to erectile dysfunction.
Diabetes is also linked to changes in hormones.
For example, it could decrease testosterone to healthy levels and cause other hormone imbalances.
Testosterone replacement to raise testosterone levels may be in order if you have diabetes.
Diabetes also increases your risk for stroke, heart attack, renal failure, and other diseases.
The cumulative effect of these factors could be detrimental to your quality of life and your sexual health.
Preventing diabetes can help prevent ED. Also, if a person has diabetes, keeping their blood sugar levels in check may significantly lower their risk of ED.
Talk To The ED Experts At Choice Men’s Health
The most important thing to remember is that ED is very common, is treatable, and your erectile function can return.
You can treat erectile dysfunction (ED) and get your erections back to normal with a few alterations to your lifestyle and maybe some counseling or medication.
When it comes to treating erectile dysfunction, the ED specialists at Choice Men’s Health have the knowledge and experience to help you reconnect with your partner.
We can offer advice on preventing and treating your ED if you’re currently struggling with it.