Erectile function – the ability to achieve and maintain an erection – naturally wanes as we age because humans weren’t designed to be fertile forever. That being said, men and women deserve a healthy sex life - and if erectile dysfunction (ED) becomes an issue, it can shelf your sex altogether.
ED is commonly caused by underlying health conditions, or lifestyle choices that interfere with libido, circulation and sex drive. This is great news because it means that by treating underlying causes, ED often resolves on its own.
For this reason, it’s so important to find a physician whom you trust and feel comfortable speaking with about your symptoms. An automatic prescription for an ED medication is not always the best choice because by jumping from Point A to Point D – you not only ignore important health issues that require attention, you put yourself in a medication-dependent situation; who wants that unless it’s absolutely necessary?
So, before jumping to the automatic Viagra solution – speak to your doctor about the following six issues to discover if one or more contributes to your erectile dysfunction, diminished libido or decreased sexual stamina.
There is a distinct link between men who smoke and ED. This is because smoking affects circulation, and healthy circulation is a must-have to get and sustain an erection. If you’ve been a habitual smoker for most of your life, it’s time to get serious about quitting (there are myriad health benefits of not smoking…). Your doctor can help you find programs and medications that help smokers achieve long-term success when they’re finally ready to call it quits.
Are you exercising at least three (optimally five) days a week, at a moderate level, for at least 30-minutes? If not, odds are getting out of the chair and on your feet, a bike, in the pool, to the gym, over to that local yoga or Pilates studio, etc., will make a difference.
Exercise helps to increase blood flow, maintain healthy weight targets known to contribute to ED such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.
Here’s a conundrum; “but I ride my bike all the time…,” you inwardly replied to #2. Bike riding is a popular form of exercise and recreation here in the Palouse, but did you know the wrong bike seat can ? Doctors recommend men use “no-nose” bike seats, which are wider in the back – placing the majority of your weight on the sitting bones.
Read Harvard.edu’s article, , which cites recent research linking bike riding and ED, along with tips on how to bike and maintain a healthy sex life!
You don’t have to be Mr. Fitness, but weight management plays an important role in overall health and wellbeing - and that plays a critical role in managing or eliminating ED.
It’s easy to slip into a daily after-work drink routine – but the stark reality is that alcohol is a depressant and a known contributor to both ED as well as lack of libido. If you feel you’re dealing with an addition, reach out to therapists, support groups or successful 12-step programs in your area. Otherwise, curb your drinking to just one or two drinks per night (or less), or give it up altogether as a “trial run” to see if it makes a difference.
We’ve known for a while that men and women with healthy teeth and gums are less likely to have heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Now, linked men with gum disease with ED – and that treating their gum disease, “…significantly improved erectile function after three months.” Who knew your dentist – and healthy brushing/flossing habits – were keys to a healthy sex life?
Of course, medications such as Viagra, Cialis, Levitra or Staxyn, and Stendra are all prescription medications with successful ED treatment rates. However, all are associated with negative side-effects – some of which can be serious.
Always speak with your physician before taking any ED medication to ensure you aren’t putting yourself at risk for unwanted complications. In most cases, we’ll ensure your hormone levels are good, and that other health conditions aren’t a more likely source of your ED.
Psychological factors also play a role in ED, particularly for those having relationship issues, who’ve been through serious life changes or stresses over the past year or so or who have depression or anxiety. Often, the combination of and working with a counselor can reverse ED altogether.
Is ED getting in the way of your healthy sex life? Contact the urology team here at to schedule an appointment.
Published on February 21, 2019