Regardless of age, erectile dysfunction (ED) can be a major challenge and may be caused by a range of factors from a health condition to emotional or relationship issues and the use of certain medications or smoking and alcohol use. But most cases of ED can be cured.

Suffering from ED, or impotence, or having a lack of sensitivity in your penis can harm your mental health and your confidence. The available options to treat ED can include medications and even surgery, but there are natural ways to combat it, mostly by making some lifestyle changes.

There may be some persistent symptoms of ED, including reduced sexual desire, trouble getting an erection, and trouble maintaining an erection. ED is one of the common reasons why men visit a doctor, but often those with diabetes, heart conditions, or obesity are unaware of the impact of these conditions on their sexual function.

The causes of ED can vary and are many, including physical problems such as obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep disorders, diabetes, and heart disease. Mental health issues can also be a cause of ED, such as anxiety, depression, stress, and relationship issues. Certain medications can result in ED, as well as illicit drugs, smoking, and alcohol.

A doctor may prescribe treatment for ED that includes managing any illness, being more physically active, losing or maintaining weight, and making some healthier lifestyle changes.

Ignoring an ED problem may lead to other complications such as lack of confidence, low self-esteem, anxiety, an unsatisfactory sex life, and relationship issues.

A report published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine suggests that some men can reverse ED with healthy lifestyle changes such as losing weight, a healthy diet, exercise, and getting good sleep. The study also showed that if ED medication is needed, it is more effective if the patient also implements healthy lifestyle changes.

The treatment that has the greatest impact, however, is exercise. Exercise will help improve blood flow, which is key to a strong erection, and weight-bearing exercises will also help increase the production of testosterone, also a significant factor in libido and erectile strength.

Testosterone levels also increase with improved sleep, and a lack of proper sleep may also contribute to sexual dysfunction. Your circadian rhythm and sleep patterns also control hormone secretion, so ED may be remedied by maintaining a regular sleep cycle.

Your diet may also have a direct impact on ED. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains, with fewer servings of red meat, processed foods and refined grains can lower the risk of ED.

A healthy diet will also help with BMI and weight loss. Men with a 42-inch waist are 50 per cent more likely to have ED than those with a 32-inch waist. Obesity also increases the risk of diabetes and vascular disease, which also contribute to ED.

ED as the result of vascular disease is when the blood supply to the penis becomes restricted. Those who smoke or vape will experience a narrowing of the blood vessels, which will also lead to ED.

There are many medications which can cause ED as a side effect, such as high blood pressure medication, beta-blockers, antidepressants, diuretics, heart medications, cholesterol medications, hormone drugs, corticosteroids, chemotherapy, and antipsychotics, as well as more. If you think your medications are causing ED, then talk to your doctor.

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