It’s clear that ED is on the rise – just turn on the television, and you will notice several commercials for drugs that treat erectile dysfunction. At least 40% of men in their 40s have experienced some level of ED, and most men don’t seek treatment. When you have ED, you are simply less satisfied with life. It adds to already high levels of stress and creates a vicious cycle of not being able to perform and stressing about not being able to perform. Men with ED suffer from relationship problems as a result of the disorder, and it’s very likely to negatively affect their self-esteem.
Several factors can play a role in ED – physical, psychological, and environmental. Luckily, there are also lifestyle changes and other treatments that have proven to be very successful in addressing erectile dysfunction.
What is ED?
ED, or erectile dysfunction, is when a man has a difficult time getting an erection, keeping an erection, or ejaculating. Also, it can be a lack of sexual desire. Erectile dysfunction is also sometimes called impotence. ED can be chronic or occasional. If it’s a chronic problem that is plaguing your intimate relationships, seek help from a medical professional. A physician will be able to determine what is causing your ED and what you can do to treat it.
Several diseases and health conditions can cause ED as a side effect. Heart disease, clogged blood vessels, and high blood pressure are some of the major offenders. Because these maladies affect blood flow and circulation, they directly affect the strength and health of erections. In addition, tobacco, drug, and alcohol abuse can all be causes of ED. Neurological and nerve disorders also contribute to the likelihood that you will experience sexual problems. Gum disease has recently been shown to be an additional cause of ED, so be sure to get your teeth and gums checked at least twice a year. Some activities, like bike riding, spinning, and horseback riding can actually lead to erectile dysfunction because of the pressure they put on certain crucial blood vessels. Finally, many medications can have the side effect of ED. If this is a problem plaguing you, speak to your doctor to try and find the cause.
Physical causes of ED are, unfortunately, easier to pinpoint. However, it’s prevalent for the cause of ED to be mental. Chronic stress, performance anxiety, depression, generalized anxiety, relationship problems, and PTSD are just a few of the psychologically-related causes of ED. Overwork and job-related stress can also contribute to the inability to shut off your mind long enough to relax and be able to participate in sexual activities. If you find that you only have ED in certain situations and not in others, it’s likely that the cause of your ED is psychological. For example, if you have no problem getting an erection while by yourself, but once a partner shows up, you have issues – that’s psychological. Another good gauge of a psychologically-caused case of ED is if you wake up with erections but can’t seem to get one in a sexual situation.
It has been proven that several environmental factors can play a role in erectile dysfunction. The most well-researched are pesticides, solvents, BPA, and lead. If you work with these materials or are somehow exposed to them in excess, it could affect your performance in bed. Don’t overlook this angle when trying to hunt down a cause for ED.
Steps You Can Take
First and foremost, you should see your doctor. There are several things you can do to prevent or treat ED on your own. You can make lifestyle and diet changes as well as find ways to address the mental side of impotence.
Cut Out the Known Causes
Start by quitting any of the widely known causes of ED – smoking, drugs, and alcohol. Smoking can damage your blood vessels and lead to poor blood circulation. Getting and maintaining an erection is all about blood flow, so cigarettes will directly affect your performance in the bedroom. Some recreational drugs can also lead to impotence. Drugs like amphetamines, cocaine, barbiturates, and marijuana can all cause erectile dysfunction. Finally, alcohol is a natural depressant and can dampen your sexual desire, making erections harder to get and keep. If you are struggling with impotence, it might be a good idea to ditch the cigarettes, drugs, and drinks, and the rest of your body will probably thank you as well.
Improve Your Diet
Losing weight, exercising, and improving your diet will all help to mitigate ED. Several medical studies have shown that a diet higher in nutrient-rich whole foods and lacking in processed junk food lowers your risk of having issues with erectile dysfunction. A healthy diet will also likely lead to weight loss, which no matter what the cause, will reduce the likelihood of becoming impotent. Foods that have been shown to decrease ED are dark leafy greens, fatty fish, nuts, oysters, watermelon, tomatoes, and grapefruit. So, get your diet in check, and you may just get your mojo back in the bedroom.
Take Steps to Reduce Your Stress
Seek therapy, cut out the fundamental causes of stress in your life, and try alternative methods like meditation and acupuncture to tackle psychologically-caused ED. Stress is labeled “the silent killer” for a reason – it affects every aspect of your day-to-day life and health. Once you can figure out what the most stressful parts of your life are, you can address them head-on with proven methods, and if you can’t do it on your own, a psychologist or therapist can probably provide assistance in this area.
Know When It’s Time to Seek Help
There is no reason to be ashamed by such a common and likely curable affliction. If you find that ED is ruining your relationships and causing you even more life stress, seek help. Determine the physical, psychological, or environmental cause of your ED, and you will be closer to being able to perform in the bedroom again. There are several medications and lifestyle changes you can make to help with this problem.