Erectile dysfunction (E.D.) afflicts nearly half of all men over the age of 20 in the United States. It’s a painful and emotionally-turbulent condition that prevents getting or keeping an erection for a prolonged period. And it’s often left undiagnosed. In fact, it’s estimated that only 25% of men who have E.D. actually seek a diagnosis from their doctors. Clearly, most men would prefer to prevent getting erectile dysfunction in the first place. But once they know they have it, they fervently seek known remedies and treatment options for it.
E.D. is sometimes referred to as male impotence. But either way you slice it, the causes are not often clearcut whatsoever. The truth? It can be brought on by a variety of factors. These can range from physical factors such as age, diet or exercise, but are also known to stem from environmental cues such as emotional stress levels. That’s why prevention isn’t something that’s simple as 1-2-3. Since it can be often be a mixture of multiple factors, actually instituting preventative measures doesn’t always work.
E.D. can be self-induced by things like recreational drugs, smoking, unrelated health conditions, by taking certain medications and more. The causes of this disease are oftentimes so confusing that finding a single source is usually challenging since E.D. causes can stem from such a variety of places. The causes are often a collaboration between the central nervous system, emotional state of mind, other environmental factors and of course, physical conditions such as obesity and even genetic factors.
Is It Possible To Prevent E.D.?
Can you actually prevent E.D. from happening? That all depends on a variety of conditions. It also depends on who you ask. Here’s the confusing part. E.D. is more common the older you get. Studies show from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey showed that the rate of occurrence of E.D. in men aged 40-49 years old was approximately 8.2%. Alternatively, when it came to men 75 years or older, it was found that E.D. was found in 77.5% of the cases.
However, it’s been found that age is merely an independent risk factor when it comes to E.D. diagnosis when you adjust for comorbidities. Still, the prevalence of E.D. based on age is also something that’s dependent on the study being done. In fact, there is no clearcut evidence of a link between age and E.D. More so, prevention methods often stem into controlling the overall health and wellness of a man and analyzing their overall habits that could help to contribute to impotence levels.
Of course, living a healthy lifestyle can certainly limit your chances of E.D. Yes, prevention does work. However, prevention is not a cure. If you’re looking for immediate treatment results and E.D. is currently a problem, you likely want to combine some prevention methods with treatment options. You’ll also likely want to go see a doctor to diagnosis whether or not you do have E.D. or if there is some conflict with medication or other illnesses that might be causing temporary impotence.
When Should You See A Doctor?
There are ways that you can prevent E.D. But how do you know if you have it? What are the signs and when should you see a doctor? If you think you might have E.D., then it’s best to schedule a visit with your primary care physician. However, temporary problems getting an erection aren’t always a cause for alarm. They could often coincide with emotional distress, heavy alcohol usage and even occur as a side effect from some prescription medication.
Still, you shouldn’t try to primarily deal with your E.D. on your own. A doctor’s recommendations are always better than trying to diagnose things yourself. And, it can be treated. While prevention methods are great and living a healthy lifestyle can certain help stem the onset of E.D. in most cases, if you do currently have it, there are treatment options. That’s why it’s best to see a physician.
Your doctor can recommend the best path forward for your particular situation. That might involve an E.D. drug like Viagra or Cialis, or other more invasive means if the problem is more severe. Some of the treatment methods involved include things like serum injections, suppositories, surgical implants, and even things like vacuum pumps that help to increase the blood flow directly to the penis.
Yet, if you’re looking for purely preventative measures, there are certain things you can do. Some of these things involve ensuring you have a healthy lifestyle. Others involve avoiding potentially harmful substances. Either way you look at it, there is a pathway forward. The following 7 methods won’t cure you from E.D., but they’ll certainly help to alleviate the problem and potentially even prevent it from occurring in the future.
1. Watch Your Diet Like A Hawk
Healthy lifestyles go a long way. That’s especially true when it comes to the prevention of a variety of ailments, illnesses and diseases. You’ve heard the saying, you are what you eat, right? When your diet is steeped in saturated fats, high sodium, fast foods, sugar and soda, it has an enormous impact on your overall wellness. It also inhibits your body to properly fend off disease and illness. However, old habits die hard. It’s difficult to walk back our unhealthy ways, or to realize the impact it’s having on our health and wellness.
Yet, if you’re serious about maintaining the ability to get or keep an erection, your diet must be on point. If you eat poorly for prolonged periods, you can’t expect good results. Maintaining a healthy weight, low cholesterol levels and blood pressure are important for healthy blood flow and to avoid things like diabetes, which can potentially cause E.D. Rather, you should stick to a balanced diet that includes green vegetables, lean proteins and other healthy foods.
Significant weight loss can result in dramatic rises in testosterone levels. Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone that plays a role in many of functions of the body such as preventing bone fragility and osteoporosis, growing hair on the body, helping to boost muscle mass, increasing self-esteem, and of course enhancing the sex drive. If you’re overweight or borderline obese, take preventative care to institute a healthy diet and avoid toxic, sugary and excessively-fatty foods.
2. Exercise Daily
When you don’t exercise, and you haven’t for prolonged periods, getting back on a good regimen is difficult. However, one of the most important things you can do to maintain health and wellness is to exercise every single day for at least 20 minutes. You don’t need to over exert yourself. But you do need to do something lightly strenuous every single day. That could just mean going for a brisk walk. However, exercising daily helps in a number in a number of ways to prevent the onslaught of diseases like E.D.
Exercising not only increases blood flow, which is imperative to a erectile functions, but it also helps to release happy hormones into the body such as serotonin and dopamine. Serotonin plays a major role in the biology of ejaculation and proper erectile functions. Dopamine also plays a big role in erectile function. In fact, both of these compounds also work as neurotransmitters, helping to send important messages between the brain-body, sending signals to other nerve cells.
3. Avoid Using Excessive Drugs
Illegal and recreational drugs (along with other prescription drugs) can play a significant role in helping to bring about erectile dysfunction. They can also inhibit your body’s ability to feel sensations and it can certainly dull the senses of arousal. Keep in mind that some drugs can also block testosterone. Opioids like oxycodone and morphine can dramatically decrease testosterone levels. However, other drugs (legal OTC drugs) like older variations of antipsychotics like, and haloperido, fluphenazine, and chlorpromazinel can do this as well.
Keep in mind that medication overall can have an impact on erectile functions. These include antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and selective serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SSNRIs) can do this as well. In some cases, these impact overall hormonal and chemical levels, changing the concentration of dopamine, serotonin and prolactin in the brain.
4. Avoid Alcohol Consumption
Studies have found that men with severe alcohol dependence run a serious risk of developing E.D. Chronic abuse of alcohol has been long-known to create dysfunction in sex. On-going abuse of alcohol can also bring on other diseases along with severely impacting the psychology of the mind. In turn, stress increases on those who abuse alcohol, especially at the expense of other things in life such as their careers and their families. This, in turn, is a self-fulfilling loop. As the alcoholic continues the abuse, events that lead to stress and anxiety increase, thus making them turn to more alcohol.
For those who abuse alcohol, there are a variety of sexual dysfunctions that can develop. This isn’t just E.D. related. Not only do men have trouble getting erections, they also have problems with things like premature ejaculation, an overall decrease in libido, or even an aversion to sex in its entirety.
5. Steer Clear Of Steroids
Anabolic steroids are often abused by bodybuilders and athletes trying to get into peak physical condition. However, the usage of steroids can also create the onset of E.D. (especially without supplementing testosterone during use). Not only do steroids help to shrink the testicles, but they also make it harder for the body to create testosterone. Steroids, overall, are very harmful to the body. If you’re relying on steroids and you’re currently involved in an exhaustive training regiment, it might be time to step back and look at the harm you’re causing your body.
6. Stop Smoking Cigarettes
Aside from being one of the worst possible habits, smoking cigarettes can also interfere with your erectile function. However, most people wonder whether smoking actually has an impact on erectile functions. To that end, back in 2014, the U.S. Surgeon General warned that E.D. was one of the conditions that can be caused by smoking.
That report “concludes that smoking causes diabetes mellitus, rheumatoid arthritis and immune system weakness, increased risk for tuberculosis disease and death, ectopic (tubal) pregnancy and impaired fertility, cleft lip and cleft palates in babies of women who smoke during early pregnancy, erectile dysfunction, and age-related macular degeneration.”In the United States, smoking causes 87 percent of lung cancer deaths, 32 percent of coronary heart disease deaths, and 79 percent of all cases of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
7. Reduce Stress Levels
It should come as no surprise by now that stress can induce E.D. If you’re dealing with a tremendous amount of stress or pressure at work, then it’s important that you reduce that. There are serious stress hormones that impact your overall health and wellness, but also make you more inclined to getting a disease or illness.
Not only can stress bring on E.D., but it can also self-propagate it as well. When you’re stressed and it causes E.D., it creates more stress about E.D. and getting an erection at the right time and maintaining it becomes a stressful scenario in and of itself. In fact, for middle-aged men, stress, both in personal and professional realms of their lives, is the leading cause of E.D.
You can reduce your stress in a number of ways. You can follow some of the preventative E.D. methods mentioned here. Or, you can go see a professional who can help you work through the stress. But the best and most important way you can alleviate stress is to focus on gratitude. Gratitude lists work well. Make a list of the 5 things you are grateful for every morning when you wake up and every evening before you go to sleep.
When you shift your focus to gratitude and what you have to be grateful for, it reduces stress in a number of ways. The mind will see what it focuses on. Plain and simple. However, steering that focus is oftentimes a conscious decision, especially when you’re so used to thinking one way.
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