Sex. Sex is a pleasurable experience, there are numerous health benefits associated with it, and it is the most natural process in the world. We literally would not be here without sexual intercourse and yet for many, it is still considered a taboo subject to discuss.
We all deserve a healthy sex life, yet the sad reality is that for many men, that is not always possible due to a condition known as erectile dysfunction.
Erectile dysfunction is a condition that a lot of men refuse to discuss for fear of mockery and being ridiculed. Despite this however, ED is actually one of the most common male health issues in existence.
When it comes to ED, we all know that there are certain drugs and medications out there that can help, but these themselves come with health risks which is why more and more males are choosing to go down a more natural route.
Here’s a detailed guide on erectile dysfunction and whether it can be treated naturally without medication.
Erectile dysfunction, also known as impotence, is a common male sexual health issue which results in a man struggling to achieve and/or maintain an erection.
Needless to say, ED can make sexual intercourse extremely difficult, not to mention the fact that it can put a man under an immense amount of strain and pressure and can lead to mental health issues, and indeed, relationship issues as well.
Erectile dysfunction does not discriminate as it can affect men of various ages, shapes, and sizes. Despite this however, statistically, the older you are and the more body fat you are carrying, the more likely you will be to be affected by erectile dysfunction.
Despite so many men suffering in silence for fear of being mocked, erectile dysfunction is a very common condition. In fact, 1 in 5 men suffers with ED, though experts believe the true number to be closer to 2 in 5 men. Furthermore, this number increases further the older a man becomes.
Despite the two being so heavily linked with each other, a low libido is NOT the same as erectile dysfunction.
Having a low libido (sex drive) means that a man struggles to become sexually aroused or pleasured by sexual intercourse, or the thought of sexual intercourse. Erectile dysfunction refers specifically to a man’s difficulty in achieving and maintaining an erection.
People often assume that men with erectile dysfunction have poor sex drives and low libidos, when in fact it’s often the exact opposite, which makes the condition even more frustrating for men. Often, a man may be sexually aroused with a very healthy sex drive, but it is just his body, specifically his penis, that lets him down.
In order to understand more about what erectile dysfunction is, we need to understand the basic body mechanics and physiology of a man’s sexual organs.
When a man becomes sexually aroused, blood rushes a spongy tissue in his genitalia known as erectile tissue, and fills up two chambers which are known as the ‘Cavernosa’ and the ‘Corpora’.
As these two chambers are flooded with oxygenated blood, as they fill, this causes the penis to expand and to become hard and rigid. The process is kicked off by impulses sent from the brain to the nerves in the genitals to indicate to the man that he is feeling sexually aroused.
That’s all well and good, but problems occur is anything happens to block or interfere with these nerve impulses sent to the genitalia, or if anything happens to block or restrict blood flow to the erectile tissue located in the genitals.
Obviously, we know the main symptoms of ED, but just to be sure, here’s a quick breakdown of some of the most common symptoms associated with erectile dysfunction:
• Difficulty achieving an erection
• Difficulty maintaining an erection
• Erections which are too soft for sex or masturbation
• Erections which don’t last long enough for sex or masturbation
Of course, virtually every single sexually active male will experience the symptoms of erectile dysfunction at some point, and it could well be an isolated incident.
If, however, you regularly find that you cannot achieve an erection, or maintain an erection that is hard enough, or that lasts long enough to complete sexual intercourse or masturbation, this is medically classed as erectile dysfunction.
As mentioned, 1 in 5 men officially suffer with ED, though experts believe the real number is closer to 2 in 5, it’s simply that a lot of men are choosing to suffer in silence rather than to seek help.
Despite ED affecting men of all ages, including those in their twenties and thirties, statistically you are more likely to suffer with ED as you grow older.
It is believed that around 5% of men in their 40s are affected by erectile dysfunction. However, this number increases to 15% for men once they reach their 70s. Remember, men can be fertile into their nineties!
So, does this mean that once you reach your 40s your sex life is doomed and will gradually get worse and worse? Absolutely not!
Regardless of your age, there are certain medications which you can be prescribed by doctors to treat and prevent erectile dysfunction, not to mention the fact that there are also countless natural remedies you can incorporate into your lifestyle instead of medication.
We’ve established that age is a factor in ED cases, but that’s not all, lifestyle, genetics, diet, and physical composition can also play enormous roles.
Some of the most common causes of erectile dysfunction include:
We won’t say too much more about age here because we’ve already established that age is a leading contributing factor to erectile dysfunction in men.
Lifestyle also plays an enormous role in determining how healthy a person’s libido is, and also determining whether or not a man is likely to suffer with erectile dysfunction.
Poor lifestyle choices such as smoking, drug use, heavy drinking, unhealthy diet, and a lack of exercise can all contribute massively to erectile dysfunction.
An unhealthy lifestyle can cause damage to the blood vessels and restrict circulation. When this occurs, blood is obviously blocked from reaching the genitals, or specially, the two chambers located in the erectile tissue in the genitals.
A lack of blood flow to the genitals means a man will struggle to achieve a hard erection, and if he does, it is likely not to last.
Sticking with the unhealthy lifestyle theme, weight also plays a role in erectile dysfunction issues in men.
Men who are overweight and carrying excess body fat around on their frames are far more likely to experience the symptoms associated with erectile dysfunction. Not only that, but they’re also more likely to suffer with a poor libido too, so it’s a negative double whammy for their sex lives.
Numerous studies have found a direct link between erectile dysfunction and chronic disease, particularly diabetes.
Men with diabetes, particularly type-2 diabetes, which is also linked with an unhealthy lifestyle, are around two to three times more likely to suffer with erectile dysfunction than men who don’t have diabetes.
Diabetes affects the blood, and any condition which affects the blood and the way it flows and circulates around the body could be linked with erectile dysfunction.
Most commonly, conditions such as atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, multiple sclerosis, and kidney disease have all been linked with erectile dysfunction in men.
Physical trauma, either to the genitals, or to the blood vessels and/or nerves in and around the genitalia, can also lead to erectile dysfunction.
Sometimes surgery can lead to ED complications, and if the damage is permanent, a man will need treatment in order to achieve an erection. If not however, usually he will find that as the tissue repairs itself, he finds it easier to get an erection again.
Sometimes men find that the cause of their ED is all in their heads.
Men suffering from mental health issues such as stress, anxiety, and depression can be at a higher risk of ED than men that don’t.
Furthermore, men may suffer from what is known as ‘Performance Anxiety’ which is literally a mental health issue where they’re so concerned about whether or not they’ll be able to become aroused and achieve an erection that they ironically interrupt the neurological process between the brain and nerves responsible for achieving an erection in the first place.
As mentioned, and as you probably know, there are certain medications that men can be prescribed by a doctor to help them to achieve an erection. As beneficial as these drugs can be, the problem is that they aren’t natural, and they do present some unpleasant side effects.
The good news, though, is that there are a number of proven strategies which a man can implement to help him achieve and maintain an erection naturally, without the help of medication.
Here’s a look at some of the most common and effective natural treatments for erectile dysfunction.
Amino acid supplements might be popular amongst bodybuilders and fitness buffs, but it turns out that some amino acids can also be used to treat erectile dysfunction.
L-arginine is an amino acid, making it a building block of protein molecules. While there are countless different amino acids in existence, with each one providing different benefits for the human body, L-arginine is particularly useful.
Arginine acts as a vasodilator, meaning that it causes the blood vessels to dilate and widen. This is useful because it means that more blood can reach the erectile tissue in the genitals, and more blood can therefore be absorbed into the two chambers.
Believe it or not, but exercise is actually a very effective natural treatment for erectile dysfunction.
Exercise helps to improve mental health, which is also a factor when it comes to ED, plus it helps to boost testosterone production which may enhance the libido, and it improves circulation.
As we’ve mentioned, better blood flow and circulation means more blood can reach the genitalia, resulting in a harder and more prominent erection.
Because lifestyle plays such a key role in a person’s overall sexual health, diet has also been found to be a very effective natural treatment for erectile dysfunction.
A healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, slow release carbohydrates, lean proteins, fish, and healthy fats has been shown to reduce the risk of ED, but also to help reverse the ill effects of ED in those affected.
We’ve also looked at how obesity can lead to ED and a healthy diet of course helps to combat obesity and helps promote weight loss or weight management.
If you browse the sexual health section at your nearest health store, on the shelf you will nearly always come across Ginkgo biloba.
Ginkgo biloba is a natural herbal extract supplement native to the continent of Asia. It has been found to improve circulation and blood flow and is often used by men to help boost the libido and also combat ED.
Yes, we know, the name is amusing, and with a name like that, you can probably guess that this supplement can be useful when used to improve sexual health.
Horny goat weed is a natural herbal supplement that has been found to increase testosterone production and boost the libido. Not only that, but studies conducted in the past have found that this herbal ingredient can provide positive effects when used to treat erectile dysfunction which is caused as a result of nerve injury.
Getting enough sleep can also work very effectively when it comes to combatting ED.
One study conducted in 2017 found that men who worked night shifts and had disrupted sleep patterns, a lack of sleep, and poor quality sleep were at a much higher risk of erectile dysfunction than men who slept well and averaged between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night.
A healthy lifestyle can also be very effective when used to combat ED.
We’ve looked at eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep, but other things like drinking plenty of water, not smoking, limiting alcohol intake, and using herbal supplements can also help to reduce the symptoms of ED, or prevent them entirely.
Finally, the last, and perhaps the most effective natural remedy for ED is what is known as acoustic wave therapy.
Conducted by trained, qualified, and experienced healthcare experts, acoustic wave therapy, also known as shockwave therapy, is designed to help to improve blood flow by fighting against a lack of blood flow in the body.
This non-invasive procedure utilizes acoustical soundwaves in and around the penis to achieve neovascularization, which is basically the formation of brand-new blood vessels. The more blood vessels that are available, the greater the blood supply to the penis and the harder and more prominent the erection will be.