Natural treatments: Although natural remedies are increasingly available for sale over the counter, there is little scientific evidence to support their claims of improving ED. These remedies may produce adverse side effects or react negatively with other medications a man is taking. Before trying any over-the-counter treatments, it is essential to consult a doctor.
Some of the most reliable ED stats have emerged from a large data collection effort called the Massachusetts Male Aging Study. According to that data, rates of ED among men tend to correlate with their age bracket, says Tobias Köhler, M.D., chief of the Division of Male Infertility at Southern Illinois University. “Roughly 40 percent of men in their 40s suffer from ED, 50 percent in their 50s, etc.,” he says.
What causes erectile dysfunction in males?
While physical anatomy and chemical reaction are both important for getting and keeping an erection, the brain is one of the most vital parts of this puzzle. "An erection is controlled by multiple areas of your brain, including the hypothalamus, limbic system and cerebral cortex," notes Axe. "Stimulatory messages are sent to your spinal erection centers and this facilitates an erection. When there's an issue with your brain's ability to send these important messages, it can increase the smooth muscle tone in your penis and prevent the relaxation that is necessary to get an erection."
Having erection trouble from time to time isn't necessarily a cause for concern. If erectile dysfunction is an ongoing issue, however, it can cause stress, affect your self-confidence and contribute to relationship problems. Problems getting or keeping an erection can also be a sign of an underlying health condition that needs treatment and a risk factor for heart disease.
Most of us are raised to believe that men are ravenous sex-beasts, eternally horny and only pretending to be a part of polite society so that they can find some new crevice to jam their Jeremy Irons into. So the first time we cross paths (and genitals) with a guy who can't get an erection, many of us immediately panic and assume that the problem must be us. We must be profoundly unsexy. After all, what could else possibly stop these hormone-addled maniacs from getting an erection?
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If ED happens to a boyfriend or husband, ask (outside the bedroom) if he’s ever seen a doctor about it. Only 15 percent of men have, according to our survey—but a doc visit might be the simplest solution. For instance, if your guy’s ED seems like a psychological issue, his doctor may refer him to a therapist who can help him work through whatever’s getting him down. Or he may be given a temporary prescription for sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra, which is safe and effective when used correctly.
Obesity. Obesity itself is not a risk factor for ED — but there is a connection. “The bigger concern is that obesity can lead to type 2 diabetes or vascular diseases, which are risk factors for ED,” says Montague. Morbid obesity, a term used to classify individuals who are significantly overweight, can cause hormonal changes that are triggered by excess body fat. In addition, obesity can put physical limitations on sexual intercourse.
Don’t approach sex like a race. If you struggle with losing your erection quickly, you might be used to speeding things up. That’s counterproductive, though. Work on slowing things down and don’t be afraid of what happens in your body. By slowing down, you’re retraining your body to expect something different from sex. Right now, your body probably expects to climax in a very short period of time. If that’s not what you want, you have to train your body to take a little longer.
Though few things are worse for your erection than a cigarette habit, coffee can actually help you out below the belt. A study by the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston found that men who consumed the caffeine equivalent of 2-3 cups of coffee per day were less likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction than those who preferred to wake up with caffeine-free beverages.
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A 2013 study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine evaluated 439 men for erectile dysfunction and compared ED causes and frequency in men 40 or younger to men over 40. They found that 26 percent of the younger men had ED. Although these men were healthier and had higher levels of testosterone than the older men, they were more likely to be smokers or to have used illicit drugs. In almost half of the younger men with ED, the ED was considered severe.
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Some men have had success by using natural supplements to improve their erections. "There are also natural remedies that can be used to improve erectile dysfunction," says Dr. Axe. "This includes herbs such as ginseng, horny goat weed, maca root and ginkgo biloba. You can also try supplementing with L-arginine, DHEA and niacin. If you choose to try natural products to maintain a strong erection, it's still a good idea to discuss this with your doctor, especially if you are also taking medications."
For many older men, issues like diabetes, hypertension and heart attacks are often contributing factors to erectile dysfunction. But Goldstein said that in younger men, ED is far more likely to stem from physical trauma. This could be the result of a sports injury, such as a misplaced karate kick, a surfboard hitting the wrong area or long-distance bike riding. It could also be a result of a sexual injury. (This is most common during heterosexual intercourse, especially in the woman-on-top position, the sex position dubbed "most dangerous" by a 2015 study.)
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The penis is the male sex organ, and the shaft of it is the longest part. The glans and head are located at the end of the shaft. The opening at the tip of the head when semen and urine come out is termed the meatus. Inside the shaft are two cylinder-shaped chambers called the corpora cavernosa and they run the length of the penis. They have blood vessels, maze, open pockets, tissue, and others.
Failure to achieve an erection is not uncommon for most men and may be considered normal even if it happens as often as 20 percent of the time. There is a wide range of normal when it comes to sexual functioning and sexual relationships. "Generally if a couple feels comfortable with their sex life and they enjoy intimacy together, erectile dysfunction may not be much of an issue. But if erectile dysfunction is causing stress in a relationship, then help is available," says Feloney.
Research has shown that the same eating patterns that can cause heart attacks due to restricted blood flow in the coronary arteries can also impede blood flow to and within the penis. The blood flow is needed for the penis to become erect. Diets that include very few fruits and vegetables along with lots of fatty, fried, and processed foods can contribute to decreased blood circulation throughout the body.
“Although having sex at 70 is not the same as having sex at 20, erectile dysfunction is not a normal part of aging,” according to Michael Feloney, MD, urologic surgeon and expert on sexual dysfunction issues at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. “You should still be able to have a satisfying sex life as you age." If you are experiencing erectile dysfunction, these 10 dos and don'ts may help.
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