Stay Healthy Now, Prevent Erectile Dysfunction Later

There’s one all-boys club that is dreaded by every man – that group of over 18 million American men who suffer from erectile dysfunction, a.k.a. ED or impotence. Yet with nearly one in five men in this country experiencing erectile dysfunction (defined as a male’s inability to attain or maintain a penile erection adequate for his partner’s or his sexual satisfaction), the chances of evading this sexual disorder do not look good. With up to 90% of persistent ED cases in men over 50 attributed to physical factors, however, there are a few lifestyle changes that can help men to stay sexually active and at peak sexual performance for their age. There are also several tactics that young men can employ to make sure that ED never becomes a problem for them. The following are tips to take to heart, and loin, in making sure that you (or the special man in your life!) remain ED-free to the best of your ability.“

Practice Heart Health

According to a 2007 study conducted at Johns Hopkins University, ED is much more common among males who have risk factors for heart disease, including high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, or elevated cholesterol. This is not surprising given that the most prevalent causes of ED in older men are conditions that affect blood flow to the penis. So look out for your cardiovascular system in particular, since related disorders can affect blood vessels and blood supply to the pelvis and penis. Make sure that you’re being treated for high blood pressure, which will help to prevent atherosclerosis, a major health problem related to coronary artery disease. Quit smoking. Address any problems with high cholesterol, since keeping your cholesterol level low reduces the hardening of arteries. And, if afflicted with diabetes, keep your blood sugar in a safe range, especially to avoid any nerve damage that can affect one’s ability to “get hard.”

Evaluate Your Drug Intake

Several legal and illegal drugs, whether stimulants, sedatives, diuretics, or antihistamines, can affect a man’s sexual performance. If you must be on medications for health problems like high blood pressure, cancer, pain, or depression, talk to your doctor about your ED concerns and how certain drugs may affect your ability to be physically intimate sooner or later. Stay away from, or at the very least keep to a minimum, substances that may contribute to erectile dysfunction, like alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana, as well as herbal or other supplements that can have sexual side effects.

Stay on Top of Your Psychological Health

Psychological reasons can also result in a male’s ED dilemma, particularly if he’s younger or if nonphysical problems are not a factor. Tension, anxiety, depression, relationship or sexual problems (e.g., resentment, hostility, or disinterest), poor communication, fatigue, feelings of inadequacy, fears, and sexual abuse are among the many problems that can gravely affect a man’s sexual response and performance. In nipping such problems in the bud before they start, take a time out to evaluate your lifestyle and relationships. Is anything causing you angst? Do you need to take better care of yourself? Are there issues that could come back to haunt you if they are not addressed now? If necessary, don’t be afraid to talk to a (sex) counselor or therapist in dealing with past or present personal and/or relationship issues. Take steps to reduce stress and combat burnout and depression, like practicing yoga, meditation, and breathwork, or taking vacations, or not overworking yourself. Relationship and mental health issues can sneak upon us, so it is doubly important that you stay in tune with your inner nature and the ways your body might be telling you that something is out of sync.

Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

By and large, research has affirmed that the easiest way to avoid erectile dysfunction is to make simple lifestyle changes since men who are healthier and more physically active are less likely to suffer from ED. These efforts include getting regular exercise, staying well-rested, and eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, regardless of age. After all, exercise increases blood flow to the pelvic region. Exercise plus good eating habits reduces your risk of Type-2 diabetes, further trumping any risk of ED. And all of these better health factors will help to lower stress and maintain your weight, factors that can prevent or reduce the onset of many of the physical problems we’ve discussed. Overall good health will also prevent heart and/or lung disease, which can also affect ED. Just be sure to consult a healthcare provider before starting a new fitness regime.

While it is only fair to mention that there are factors that are still out of human control when it comes to preventing erectile dysfunction, like the neurological diseases of multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s, inflammations and cancers of the reproductive system, hormonal disorders, nerve damage, and some chronic diseases, continually taking care of one’s physical and emotional health is one way to counter an issue that affects so many. In making sure that you’re not just another statistic, start your anti-ED plan today. Visit your physician for a thorough physical exam, identifying any potential risk factors and a personally-tailored plan for action in how they can be adequately addressed now.