Exercises to Eliminate Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile Dysfunction Basics
Frustrating and embarrassing, erectile dysfunction (ED) is a problem that occurs in many men, and for many reasons. ED is often caused by physical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and low testosterone. Other causes may include psychological issues, blood flow problems, hormonal fluctuations, and nerve damage.
Treating ED with medications like sildenafil (Viagra) isn’t your only option. A study from the University of the West, UK, found that pelvic exercises helped 40 percent of men with ED regain normal erectile function, and an additional 33.5 percent significantly improve erectile function.
What Kind of Exercises?
Pelvic floor exercises improve the strength of the pelvic floor muscles and are more commonly known as “Kegel” exercises. Women perform Kegels in preparation for and to regain muscle tone after childbirth. Kegels also promote urinary continence and sexual health.
Kegel exercises can benefit men as well. In particular, they help to strengthen the bulbocavernosus muscle. This important muscle does three jobs: it allows the penis to engorge with blood during erection, it pumps during ejaculation, and it helps empty the urethra after urination.
Basic Kegel Exercise
The best method for locating the muscles of the pelvic floor (the lower pelvis) is to stop your stream several times in the middle of urination. The muscles you clench to do this are the ones you need to exercise.
To perform a rep of Kegel exercises, squeeze these muscles, hold for 5 seconds, then relax. Repeat this 10 to 20 times, two or three times a day. You may want to try this in different positions, including lying down with your knees up, sitting in a chair, and standing.
Beyond the Basics
You probably won’t be able to finish a complete series of 10 Kegels when you first try. That’s fine. Do what you can, and eventually work up to 10 to 20 Kegels, three times a day.
Don’t hold your breath or push with your stomach, buttocks, or thigh muscles. Remember to relax after each count of five. To challenge yourself, alternate between short and long squeezes.
Another way to think about Kegels is to squeeze the muscles of your anus, like you are holding a bowel movement. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds while breathing, then relax all muscles.
Pelvic floor exercises help to relieve erectile dysfunction, and they also:
- reduce urinary or bowel incontinence
- stop dribble after urination
- potentially improve overall sexual experience.
Benefits of Aerobic Exercise
ED is often caused by blood flow problems to the penis. Obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, and vascular disease can affect blood flow and result in ED. Adding aerobic exercise to your routine can improve your overall health and may lead to improvements in erectile dysfunction.
Even brisk walking 30 minutes a day, three to four times a week, may be enough to change your cardiovascular health and impact your ED.
There are a lot of websites advertising miracles with a particular exercise technique or herbal supplement. Don’t fall for these scams. Although ED can be stressful and difficult to talk about, there are safe, proven methods for dealing with ED.
Kegel exercises are a simple, effective tool for improving the strength of the muscles involved in sexual and urinary function. Talk with your doctor about your ED to find out which treatment methods are right for you.
Pelvic floor exercises and aerobic exercises are a great first step in confronting ED. Chances are, you’ll see improvements without the side effects of Viagra and other ED medications. According to the Mayo Clinic, drugs like Viagra can prevent you from dealing with the underlying health issues that caused ED, putting you at risk for heart attacks and stroke.
You may also have a condition that makes ED medications unsafe to take. For example, taking nitrate drugs or blood thinners, or having heart disease. In these cases, penile pumps, implants, or blood vessel surgery may be options.
ED Doesn’t Have to Run Your Life
ED isn’t necessarily best treated by popping a little blue pill. Many methods for conquering ED and reclaiming your sex life are now available. Simple pelvic floor exercises are a great place to start.
You can perform Kegel exercises anywhere, anytime. Put a note in your calendar if you have a hard time remembering.
Aerobic exercise improves your overall cardiovascular health, which has direct impact on your ability to achieve and maintain an erection.
Dealing with the underlying cause of ED is a much more effective way to improve your sexual health.
- Erectile Dysfunction. (February 2012) Mayo Clinic. Retrieved July 1, 2013 from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/erectile-dysfunction/DS00162
- Dorey, G et al. (September 2005) Pelvic Floor Exercises for Erectile Dysfunction. BJU International. 96(4):595-597. Retrieved July 1, 2013 from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1464-410X.2005.05690.x/pdf
- Kegel Exercises for Men: Understand the Benefits. (September 2012) Mayo Clinic. Retrieved July 1, 2013 from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/kegel-exercises-for-men/MY01402/NSECTIONGROUP=2
- Bacon, C et al. (August 2003) Sexual Function in Men Older than 50 Years of Age. Annals of Internal Medicine. 139(3):161-168. Retrieved July 1, 2013 from https://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=716599
- Kegel Exercises for Men. (2013) UCLA Urology. Retrieved July 1, 2013 from http://urology.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=524
- Lamina, S et al. (November 2011) Effects of Aerobic Exercise in the Management of Erectile Dysfunction: A Meta Analysis Study on Randomized Controlled Trials. Ethiopian Journal of Health Sciences. 21(3):195-201. Retrieved July 1, 2013 from www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3275865
- Esposito, K et al. (June 2004) Effect of Lifestyle Changes on Erectile Dysfunction in Obese Men. JAMA. Vol 291(24): 2978-2984. Retrieved July 1, 2013 from http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=198993
- Erectile Dysfunction: A sign of Heart Disease? (August 2012) Mayo Clinic. Retrieved July 1, 2013 from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/erectile-dysfunction/HB00074