Erectile dysfunction, more commonly known by its acronym ED, is more common than most think. Its prevalence is steadily rising globally, and it’s starting to affect younger and younger adults.
Some of the hallmark risk factors for ED are a sedentary lifestyle with little physical activity (if any at all), smoking, less-than-ideal diets leading to an increased incidence of obesity, metabolic disease, and excessive alcohol consumption.
Such metabolic conditions contribute to an inflammatory state, leading to endothelial dysfunction due to a lack of nitric oxide (NO)—the critical component of blood flow to the genitals. This blood flow ultimately leads to erections.
It’s no secret: nutritional and lifestyle factors are largely and rightfully renowned for influencing nitric oxide production in the circulatory system. That’s not to mention their roles in influencing testosterone concentrations and erectile characteristics.
If that isn’t reason enough for you to consider making a few nutritional or lifestyle changes, well, maybe this will: lifestyle changes that help reduce low-grade inflammation may play an essential role in enhancing erectile function and strength.
Clinical trials conducted on humans showed that lifestyle changes effectively reduced symptoms of erectile dysfunction or even restored such ED symptoms in individuals with metabolic diseases.
There’s no question about it. A healthy lifestyle will deliver certain benefits in alleviating sexual dysfunction.
ED is a pervasive issue affecting more than half of all men globally. And ED strikes not just men in their advanced years—younger adults are being diagnosed with ED at an alarming rate. ED doesn’t discern between ages.
There’s something you can do about it. Just as many factors are contributing to ED and its spread, there are plenty of ways you can mitigate ED risk factors right now.
Here are five steps you can manage ED symptoms by making just a few simple tweaks to your routine—and keeping them as habits.
Move your body
Erectile dysfunction is a hallmark symptom of poor cardiovascular health—and one of the most impactful, immediate ways to improve this aspect of your health is through physical activity or exercise. Just 30 minutes of walking every day reduce your risk of experiencing ED by almost half.
Shave off the excess pounds
All of us will put on the extra weight over time. It’s a known fact. However, carrying all that excess weight is one of the primary causes of erectile dysfunction—particularly when excess weight leads to being overweight.
Therefore, there are plenty of reasons why you should consider losing weight, most of which you already know—and sexual health is one of the myriad reasons why. Excess weight doesn’t just interfere with your cardiovascular health, but it can also have a knock-on effect on your hormonal levels.
Men with oversized waistlines are at a high risk of ED—individuals with 42-inch waistlines, for instance, were found to have a 50% increased risk of encountering symptoms of ED than an individual with an average waistline.
Find ways to reduce your stress
As time goes on, the effects of stress on overall health are becoming increasingly apparent—and its impact has far-ranging consequences not just on emotional health but also physical, mental, and sexual health.
High stress levels, in particular, lead to anxiety, therefore constantly putting you in a fight-or-flight state that drastically changes your brain and your physiological responses. When it comes to ED, this particular state of stress suppresses the production of hormones while increasing cortisol production, which affects erections greatly.
Additionally, high stress levels can take a toll on your emotional and mental state. Remember that sexual arousal begins in the mind, and it will be hard to get in the mood when your brain is in a constant state of stress.
Therefore, more individuals should reduce their stress because it’s often the simple things like engaging in physical activities, taking up a pleasurable hobby, discovering meditation, or performing deep-breathing exercises.
Remain engaged in sexual activities
Use it or lose it. You can’t expect your bodily systems to function at their best when you don’t use them, just like a car needs to be driven to ensure it stays in peak form. The more you use your reproductive system, the higher your chances of keeping it in order. Even if it is hard for you to obtain an erection, the important thing is to keep blood flow coming to and from your genitals.
Consume a well-balanced diet
The typical Western diet contains a lot of sugars and unhealthy fats. Consuming high amounts of these leads to cardiovascular blockages and plaque buildup in the blood vessels. Such blockages ultimately lead to ED symptoms.
Therefore, lay off the processed, sodium- and sugar-laden foods, and replace them with more healthy options with a focus on eating foods that support better cardiovascular health.
Try to identify the unhealthy culprits in your diet bit by bit and gradually replace them with green leafy vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, and lean protein. Eating a well-balanced diet will see you reaping its benefits between the sheets in no time.
If a well-balanced diet is hard for you to consume, and you might want to fill out your nutritional gaps by taking a supplement. Other options that may help you restore your energy and libido include testosterone replacement therapy, penile implants, or prescription ED medications like sildenafil, tadalafil, or vardenafil.
Use the right supplements
Many dietary supplements labeled as natural ED remedies haven’t had the most sterling of reputations as far as effectiveness or safety are concerned. Worse, many products have been found to contain prescription medicines such as sildenafil, Viagra’s active ingredient.
Using such unproven products can pose a health risk. Therefore, talk to your doctor before taking any ED medication or supplements, even if they appear to be safe and all-natural. In the end, what’s important is your health.