Don't forget mental health, either! "If you are experiencing stress at work, in your relationships or at home, open up communication about these issues," notes Axe. "Try natural stress busters like spending time outdoors, taking some vacation time for yourself or seeing a therapist. You also need to make sure that you are getting enough rest every night — seven to nine hours of sleep per night."
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."
There are many factors that can lead to ED. “Psychological causes of erectile dysfunction in young men can include performance anxiety, guilt about sex in general, guilt about having sex with a particular partner, feelings of anger or resentment towards a partner, or simply finding a partner undesirable,” said Carole Lieberman, MD, a psychiatrist on the clinical faculty of the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute in Los Angeles.
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"Some physical problems that can lead to weak erections are the inability of your brain to send signals to your penis, which can be caused by neurological conditions like MS, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's," adds Axe. "Studies suggest that stress, anxiety and depression can produce major chemical changes in your brain, leading to the inability of smooth muscles to relax and allow for an erection. On top of this, researchers have also indicated that the failure to achieve an erection can aggravate a man's anxiety levels, leading to a vicious cycle."
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Relationship problems often complicate erectile dysfunction. Improving your relationship may be part of the solution. It may be a good idea to get counseling together from a sex therapist, marriage counselor, or a medical specialist. "I almost always see couples together to discuss erectile dysfunction. It often turns out that both partners have issues regarding the sexual relationship and once they are out in the open, couples can work together on a more satisfying sexual experience," says Feloney.
Ginseng (Panax ginseng) opens the arteries, including those that carry blood into the penis. Korean researchers gave 90 ED sufferers one of three treatments: a placebo, an antidepressant (trazodone), or ginseng. The placebo and antidepressant groups showed 30 percent erection improvement, the ginseng group, 60 percent. Other Korean scientists repeated this study, giving a placebo or ginseng (2,700 mg/day) to 45 men with ED. After 8 weeks, the ginseng group reported firmer erections. However, 2,700 mg of ginseng might cause jitters and possibly insomnia.
The strength and frequency of your erection are an important indicator of your overall health. The blood vessels in the penis are smaller than arteries and veins in other parts of your body, so any problems like blockages, blood vessel dilation issues, or hormone imbalances will often show up as erectile dysfunction (or less firm erections) before something more serious like a heart attack or stroke.
Despite some very recent legislative changes, opioids—ultra-strong narcotic painkillers—have never been more popular. According to the newest stats from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), enough opioid prescriptions are written each year to stock the medicine cabinets of every single adult in America (with plenty left over for teens, too). “These types of narcotics suppress testosterone levels,” says Dr. Köhler. That means they also mess with your hard-on. So does smoking, drinking a lot of booze, and any other bad habits that hurt your heart and/or vascular function.
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Where it comes from: When talking about erectile dysfunction, it's important to note that while there are many potential causes, they can essentially be divided into two discrete categories: physical and psychological. It's also important to note that there's a huge difference between chronic ED and the occasional (and very normal) inability to maintain an erection during sex.
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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"One of the reasons erectile dysfunction increases with age is that the diseases that lead to it also increase with age," notes Dr. Feloney. Evaluating the causes of erectile dysfunction starts with your doctor taking a good health history and giving you a physical exam. Common medical issues that can lead to erectile dysfunction include diabetes, high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries, low testosterone, and neurological disease. Talk to your doctor about better managing these health conditions.
Here is the last tip for how to keep an erection longer. Keep the amount of porn you consume in check. In 2013, it was estimated that some 30% of all Internet traffic was to porn sites. That statistic was reported in Huffington Post article on traffic to porn sites versus other major sites. At the time, this was more traffic than to Netflix, Hulu, or even Amazon. It’s clear that there are addiction risks associated with porn, but the bigger problem is how the brain begins to react to stimulation that’s right in front of you. Over time, men can begin to lose interest sexually in actual sex that isn’t as risque, interesting, or vibrant as porn.
As it turns out, there are actually tons of things that can keep guys from getting an erection that have nothing to do with you (also, all that stuff you learned in middle school about how all guys are hump-crazed sex lunatics might have been slightly off). Between 20 and 30 million American men experience recurring erection difficulties, and almost all men have, at one time or another, had their top ramen refuse to boil. And while erectile issues are often seen as an older man's problem, in reality, one quarter of men seeking medical treatment for erectile difficulties are under 40.
...the root of the ground cover, Panax ginseng, which is the Asian species, and Panax quinquefolius, the American plant (grown mostly in Wisconsin). Ginseng is an "adaptogen," a medicinal herb that helps build and maintain body vitality, allowing users to better adapt to the stresses they face in life. Ginseng is available where herbal medicines are sold.
"When it's persistent and consistent, it's extremely likely to have biological factors" regardless of age, Dr. Irwin Goldstein, director of sexual medicine at Alvarado Hospital in San Diego and the director of San Diego Sexual Medicine, told Mic. But the cause of ED can also be psychological: For instance, if a man can get an erection on his own but not with a partner, then his ED is more likely to be rooted in performance anxiety or a deeper psychological issue.
"Stress and anxiety can adversely affect sexual performance and are common causes of erectile dysfunction,” warns Feloney. “Feelings of stress and anxiety can also lead to depression and a loss of interest in sex." It's important to get these feelings out in the open where you can deal with them. Issues that can lead to erectile dysfunction include fear from previous bad experiences with sex, family or work related stress, poor communication with your partner, and unrealistic goals and expectations.