More than half of all men experience erectile dysfunction (ED), and age is only part of the story as 40% of men at age 40 report problems with the issue. While there are many factors that contribute to ED that are beyond your control, there are plenty that are well within your ability to mitigate.
At our practice, Dr. Robert Cornell and our team of urology and men’s health experts believe that the best approach to your health is one that heads off potential problems before they take hold. When it comes to ED, there are plenty of steps you can take to ensure your sexual health, and we review five of them here.
1. Get moving
One of the primary causes of ED is poor vascular health, and one of the best ways to make improvements in this area is through exercise. In fact, one study showed that walking just 30 minutes a day reduces your risks for ED by 41%.
2. Lose weight
Carrying extra pounds, especially when it crosses over into obesity, is one of the leading drivers of ED. There are many reasons why losing weight is great for your health, and we’re going to add your sexual health to this long list. Not only does weight adversely affect your cardiovascular system, it can interfere with your hormones, as well.
To put some numbers to the problem, men who have large waistlines are more at risk. To wit, a man with a 42-inch waist is 50% more likely to struggle with ED than a man with a 32-inch waist.
The effects of stress on the human body are becoming increasingly clear, and they cast a wide net over your mental, physical, and emotional health.
When it comes to ED, high levels of stress often lead to anxiety, which means you’re in a flight-or-fight mode that alters your physiology and your brain. In this state of stress, some hormones are suppressed while others are increased (mainly cortisol), and this can greatly impact your ability to get and maintain an erection.
As well, high levels of stress can overtake your mental and emotional health, and it’s important to remember that an erection starts in your mind.
With that in mind, it’s a very good idea to find ways to reduce stress, which can be hard in today’s world. Simple things like exercising, turning off the news, and learning relaxation techniques like deep-breathing can go a long way toward reducing stress.
4. Stay sexually active
This tip falls under the “use it or lose it” category. The more you remain sexually active, the more you keep these systems functioning smoothly. Even if you’re unable to achieve an erection, the goal here is to keep the blood flowing to your penis.
5. Eat a healthy diet
This last tip coincides with the above recommendations in that it helps to improve your vascular health. Eating foods full of sugar or unhealthy fats leads to plaque buildup in your blood vessels, which has a direct effect on your ability to have an erection.
We suggest that you ditch the processed foods and add more nutrient-rich foods to your diet that support vascular health. You can institute this process slowly by swapping out a bag of chips for a few carrots or a donut for a bowl of oatmeal.
Aim to cut out unhealthy foods little by little and replace them with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins. With these dietary changes, you’ll be reaping the benefits in no time, especially in the bedroom.
If you’re still struggling with ED despite your best efforts, the good news is that we have several options that can restore your sex life, including medications, hormone replacement therapies, and penile implants.
To learn more about preventing or treating ED, please contact our office in Houston, Texas, to set up an appointment.