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The best treatments for erectile dysfunction can include natural remedies, like changes to diet and alcohol consumption, and doctor-prescribed medication.
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Erectile dysfunction (ED) occurs when someone with a penis can’t have or maintain an erection. The condition affects around a third of men, according to
- are older
- have health conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure
- have had an injury to the spinal cord, penis, or pelvis
- take medication like antidepressants or blood pressure medications
- have anxiety or stress
- are overweight
There are many natural treatments for ED. They can include lifestyle changes like modifying your diet and getting exercise, as well as seeking mental health or relationship counseling.
It’s best to talk with your doctor before trying a new treatment. They can help identify the cause of your ED and recommend effective ED treatment options, whether conventional, natural, or a combination.
Eating a balanced diet may help maintain sexual function and decrease your risk of ED.
These foods are important for your overall health, so helping maintain or improve your sexual function as well is a win-win.
Research indicates that physical activity may help protect against and improve ED. It may be particularly effective if obesity, inactivity, or cardiovascular disease, among other conditions, contribute to your ED.
- brisk walking
Physical activity helps improve blood vessel health, lower stress, and raise testosterone levels, which can all help with ED.
It’s important for your overall health to get enough sleep each night. Sleeping regularly may also improve your ED.
Not getting enough sleep can lower your testosterone levels, which may contribute to ED. Sustained lack of sleep is also associated with conditions related to ED, like diabetes and high blood pressure.
4. Weight loss
Weight may be another factor in ED.
According to research from 2020, ED was significantly more common in men with obesity, who were overweight, or with a larger waist circumference.
A small 2014 study indicated that gastric bypass surgery improved blood vessel health and ED among men with obesity. In addition, research from 2017 similarly found an improvement in ED after bariatric (weight loss) surgery.
If weight contributes to your ED, exercise and a balanced diet can help you lose weight and improve your ED.
In some cases, ED results from a combination of physical and psychological issues. These may include fear of failure, religious beliefs, and sexual trauma.
ED can lead to additional mental health issues, including emotional distress and lower self-esteem, which can further worsen ED. Therapy may help address these issues to improve ED.
According to research from 2021, psychological interventions like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) were especially effective when paired with ED medications. Mental health interventions may also be effective, but more research is needed.
A small 2018 study involving 4 weeks of mindfulness-focused group therapy indicated that this type of therapy may help improve ED and sexual satisfaction.
More research should be done to determine the most effective types of psychotherapy for ED.
6. Sex therapy or couples counseling
A small 2020 study found that cognitive behavior sex therapy (CBST) and medication were each effective on their own at reducing nonorganic ED. In addition, CBST was more effective at lowering anxiety among study participants.
It may also be helpful to attend counseling with your partner to help them understand your condition and discuss ways to support you.
The American Urological Association created a guideline for treating ED based on a review of studies. The association recommends talking with a mental health professional, especially with your partner, and says that therapy can improve communication between couples and help them integrate ED treatments into their sexual relationship.
7. Stress reduction
Stress and anxiety are often linked to ED.
Still, other research indicates that the effect of stress on ED is still unclear. A 2020 study found no association between stress and ED.
Until more is understood about stress and ED, it’s still beneficial to reduce stress in your daily life to improve your overall health.
8. Alcohol reduction
Studies have shown mixed results for the effects of alcohol on ED.
Still, other research has linked alcohol use with ED. A
More research is needed on the role of alcohol in ED. The
9. Smoking cessation
Smoking is another behavior that likely contributes to ED. This may be caused, in part, because smoking can damage blood vessels and prevent enough blood from reaching the penis for an erection.
Smoking may also reduce nitric oxide availability in the body, which is needed to cause involuntary muscle relaxation and increased blood flow that play a role in erections.
Some damage from smoking may not be reversible. Still, the review concluded that quitting smoking, especially for men under age 50, may help improve ED.
It’s challenging to quit smoking, but there are many resources available to help. Stopping smoking has the potential to help ED and benefit many other areas of your overall health.
Lifestyle changes may be an effective natural remedy for ED and may improve your overall health. But many changes — like losing weight, quitting smoking, or eating a balanced diet — may be difficult.
It may also take time for natural treatments to have an effect. Depending on the cause of their ED, some people may not show improvements without medications or other treatments. It’s helpful to work with your doctor to find a treatment that works for you.
Many supplements are advertised online as a treatment for ED, but none have been proven effective and safe. Some may also contain dangerous combinations of ingredients or overly high doses.
More research on people needs to be done on herbal remedies and other supplements for ED. If you decide to try one, be sure to talk with your doctor first. They can help you determine whether the treatment may be safe and if it’ll react with any medications you’re taking.
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Natural remedies may not be effective depending on the cause of your ED. If this is the case, your doctor may prescribe medications for ED, like:
Due to the long history and research around these drugs, specifically sildenafil and tadalafil, these medications are generally considered very safe, especially when taken as directed by your doctor.
Additionally, many of these medications are available online through reputable services like Roman, Hims, and the Optum Store that can all connect you with a doctor and — if prescribed — can ship the medications directly to your door.
You may be hesitant to take a prescription medication, but if you find limited results from natural remedies, ED medications like sildenafil and tadalafil may be worth considering.
It’s not uncommon to lose an erection from time to time. It can be caused by stress.
However, if you often find it difficult to get or maintain an erection, it could be time to seek help for ED.
If ED is causing you distress or straining your relationship, it’s a good idea to talk with your doctor.
ED can be a sign of an underlying condition. Even if ED isn’t causing you any distress, it might be wise to make an appointment with your doctor to discuss the issue, as it can be a sign of an underlying health concern.
If you suspect your ED is caused by stress, trauma, or relationship issues, consider speaking with a therapist.
What is the most effective treatment for erectile dysfunction?
The most effective treatment for you depends on the underlying cause of your ED. While lifestyle changes tend to be safe while improving ED, they can be difficult to manage. Oral medications are another primary treatment for ED, but they don’t work for everyone.
The American Urological Association’s 2018 guidelines for ED state that men may choose any option — medication, lifestyle changes, assistive devices, or surgery — to begin treatment. They suggest talking with your doctor about the risks and benefits of each treatment.
Can erectile dysfunction be cured?
If ED is caused by a lifestyle factor, health condition, or a medication you’re taking, it may be possible to reverse it by addressing the underlying cause. Surgery may also cure ED in some cases.
On the other hand, medications treat ED symptoms and can improve ED but do not cure the underlying condition.
How can I help my partner with erectile dysfunction?
ED is a common condition that affects both sexual partners.
What is the latest treatment for erectile dysfunction?
Researchers have been exploring other options for ED treatment. One of the latest treatments for ED is penile shockwave therapy or low-intensity extracorporeal shockwave therapy.
Research from 2019 suggests this treatment might be effective for ED caused by vascular disease. However, this treatment is still largely experimental and not widely used aside from clinical trials.
Shockwave therapy works by improving blood function and encouraging new blood vessels to grow. It does this by pulsing and passing low-intensity sound waves through the erectile tissue. However, more clinical trials are needed to assess whether penile shockwave therapy is safe and effective.
ED is a common condition that can affect confidence, relationships, and quality of life. The most effective treatment depends on the cause of your ED. Still, natural remedies may help improve your ED and your overall health.
It’s best to talk with your doctor about ED. They can help identify the right treatments for you. It can also be beneficial to approach your condition together with your partner.
Remember that treatment may take time, particularly lifestyle changes like losing weight and getting more exercise. Work with your doctor to find the treatment or combination of remedies that work best for you.