There are two broad categories that the causes of erectile dysfunction (ED) fall into: physical and physiological.
Physical health problems are the most likely cause of erectile dysfunction, particularly in older males. Common chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure are often associated with ED and therefore, a healthy lifestyle is the best way to avoid ED.
For younger men, ED is often related to anxiety, stress or psychological trauma due to a distressing sexual experience.
Pills such as Viagra, Viagra Connect, and Sildenafil can help a man overcome psychological obstacles and give him confidence that everything is working perfectly. However, for older men, consulting a doctor can be an important step towards uncovering and treating underlying physical causes.
How can I prevent erectile dysfunction?
The seven top tips to achieve better health, both physical and physiological, are:
- Lose weight: if you are in the overweight bracket, the excess weight may be putting your cardiovascular system under strain;
- Quit smoking: this affects blood flow and neuro-signals which normally ensure correct blood flow into the penis;
- Avoid drinking too much alcohol (no more than two drinks a day);
- Maintain a balanced diet;
- Control and monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol levels;
- Be physically active: just 30min per day can improve your blood flow, state of mind and stress levels;
- Reduce stress and get enough sleep (at least 7 hours a night).
In most cases, blood vessel deterioration is the main cause of erectile dysfunction, so you want to make sure that your blood vessels are in good condition to allow normal blood flow. Depending on the state of your health, taking pills might not always prove the most effective solution.
Beware Of Diabetes
Diabetes is another risk factor for erectile dysfunction that is often overlooked. The damage caused to blood vessels by abnormal blood sugar levels can, in the long run, result in ED.
Type 2 diabetes stems primarily from unhealthy diet and lack of exercise (yet another reason to maintain a healthy lifestyle to prevent ED).
Erectile Dysfunction In Young Men
Young men often suffer from “performance anxiety”, which can result in erectile dysfunction.
Being psychologically healthy does not require you to have nerves of steel. It’s simply important to be open with your feelings, and it may be beneficial to express and discuss how you feel.
Seeking help from a sexual health expert can prove very effective, especially to work through relationship issues or anxiety, both of which may result in ED.
You should note that, while recreational drugs and low levels of testosterone are not directly responsible for erectile dysfunction, they may well affect a man’s sexual drive.
Old or young, remember that it is normal to experience “engine failure” once in a while. Look for diversity and new experiences with your partner so that you can focus on present pleasure again rather than reviewing past failures.
Fear and anxiety about having sex are likely to create a vicious cycle: it is important to break this.
What Are My Options? Pills Or Emotional Support?
When your confidence is at stake, taking pills such as Viagra can help you to realise that there is no problem with the “engine” and give you that confidence boost.
However, if you are facing bigger issues, then expert help and knowing fully what you are dealing with can help relieve your fear and anxiety.
This will help you to find out the real causes of the problem too, which will help you reach the best solution for you.
Relationship Issues and Erectile Dysfunction
While you are working out the causes of your problem or being treated, it’s fundamental that you focus on your relationship.
Couples who have difficulties communicating on both sexual and heart matters are more likely to develop issues related to intimacy and sex. Talking about your feelings and anxieties, although this may sound difficult, is crucial: your partner needs to understand how you feel and what you need.
Just remember, if you are having problems with your impotence, your partner will be affected by this too. There is nothing to lose by talking about it, so it’s often beneficial to be pro-active by raising the issue and then working through it together. You may well find yourself addressing broader issues in your life, which can also improve your mood and relationship.
Do erectile dysfunction exercises help?
According to recent research by the University of the West of England in Bristol suggests, that erectile dysfunction exercises may be a very effective way of improving your erections. Similar to the pelvic floor exercises recommended to women after childbirth, these exercises involve clenching the muscles you use to control urination. Pelvic floor exercises have long been known to help patients with incontinence. The study conducted by a team of scientists in Bristol involved participants who had been suffering from erectile dysfunction for at least six months. 40% of participants reported that they regained their erectile function within 3 to 6 months. A further 35% reported, that they noticed a significant improvement to their condition.
The scientists from Bristol compared the effectiveness of these exercises to that of Viagra and believe regularly exercising your pelvic floor muscles may be the best way of preventing erectile dysfunction. The exercises train the muscles surrounding your penis, which improves the blood flow and improves your ability to gain and keep an erection.
Physical exercise – how sport can help
Exercising regularly is a great way to improve the state of your general health and boost your performance. A series of prolonged bad habits can damage the tissue responsible for erections over the years.
When combined with a healthier lifestyle, regular physical activity can contribute to improving your blood flow and restore your ability to get erections. All you need to do is to maintain a regular activity, even just 30 minutes a day, to improve your blood pressure, blood flow, cardio and overall health. Even walking is a good option, although it’s better to practice a sport or do some hard exercise to push yourself!
In addition, it’s important to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. This is a great long-term prevention strategy for erectile dysfunction.
However, there is one sport you may want to avoid: cycling. Long-term and long hours of outdoors cycling can damage the nerves in your pelvic area which control erections. Indoors cycling is much less hazardous as the seat is generally wider and less prone to damaging your body.