ED Treatment Options
Natural Remedy Treatments for ED
Medically reviewed by Dr. Larry Lipshultz M.D
Treatment of erectile dysfunction can be successful by incorporating natural remedy treatments for ED in the form of lifestyle modifications into your daily life without turning to drugs or other medical interventions. When such interventions are necessary, however, the fact that you adopt important changes to your diet, exercise, and more than a dozen other habits can make all the difference when treating erectile dysfunction. Integrating these lifestyle habits into your routine can give you added peace of mind because you know you will be supporting your sexual health with natural remedies for ED.
Which Natural Remedy Treatments for ED Can Help?
Engage in aerobic and resistance exercise. Generally, any activity that fights inflammation is good for the prostate, and both aerobic and resistance exercises meet that requirement. Aerobic exercise is also referred to as cardiovascular exercise, and can include brisk walking, jogging, running, cycling, basketball, calisthenics, rowing, use of stepping machines, and jumping rope. Resistance exercise increases the force your muscles can exert and the length of time they can exert that force. The basic principle behind resistance exercises is that your muscles work in opposition to a force that pushes or pulls against them. Examples of resistance exercises are push-ups, swimming, leg lifts, weight lifting, and isometric exercises (e.g., putting your palms together and pushing against your own resistance).
According to board-certified urologist Zachary R. Mucher, MD, of Sugar Land, Texas, “exercise is the [lifestyle] change that can have the greatest impact” on erectile dysfunction. “Exercise works on several fronts to combat the development of ED and help reverse it once it has become a problem.”
Practice Kegel exercises. Kegel exercises, generally seen as an exercise for women, also work for men, especially if you need some help improving erectile function. Once you learn and practice Kegel exercises daily, you can begin to enjoy better arousal, better ejaculation control, and more enjoyable orgasms. One of the best advantages of Kegels is that you can do them just about anywhere, anytime, and no one will even realize it.
Kegel exercises involve the repetitive tightening or clenching of the pubococcygeus (PC) muscle, which is what you do when you try to prevent the flow or urine or the passing of gas. Once you identify that muscle, practice tightening it, holding the clench for 3 to 4 seconds, relaxing, and repeating the cycle five to seven more times. Practice Kegels several times a day, and after about a month, you should notice better erectile control.
Pick plant rather than animal protein. Protein from plant sources offers all the nutrients and health benefits you need for optimal erectile function and prostate health. Plant protein comes without the saturated fat, hormones and antibiotics, and cholesterol associated with animal foods and the higher risk of heart disease and high cholesterol that are also seen in men with erectile dysfunction.
Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. The antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and polyphenols provided by fruits and vegetables can promote and support prostate health and erectile function. Five to seven servings of these foods should be a part of your daily menu.
Choose healthy fats. Both monounsaturated and omega-3 fats should make up the majority of the fats included in an overall low-fat diet in order to support sexual health and optimal erectile function. A 2016 study showed that low-fat diets, both one high in protein and one high in carbohydrates, improved overall sexual function and testosterone in overweight and obese men.
Go green. Include several cups of green tea in your daily schedule and reap the benefits of the potent antioxidants. Catechins in green tea provide powerful anti-inflammatory and free radical fighting abilities that support prostate and sexual health.
Get sufficient sleep. If you aren’t getting about 7 hours of sleep every night, you may be putting a damper on your erections. Research indicates that sleep loss is associated with lower testosterone levels in men. Since hormone secretion is controlled by your internal clock, insufficient or disrupted sleep can hinder the release of testosterone and other hormones.
Limit alcohol consumption. Drinking alcohol in moderation is not likely to cause erectile dysfunction, but drinking to excess certainly can. It is common lore that alcohol may facilitate the achievement of an erection by putting you “in the mood,” but that maintaining an erection is much more difficult under the influence. In the short-term, drinking alcohol expands the blood vessels in the penis, allowing for an erection. However, those blood vessels cannot close to prevent backflow. Furthermore, long-term excessive alcohol consumption can increase the risk of hypertension and heart disease by damaging the blood vessels, which further increases the risk of ED. Moderation is defined as no more than two drinks per day.
Be cautious of caffeine. Coffee, chocolate, black tea, energy drinks, and other sources of caffeine can irritate the prostate and have an impact on sexual function.
Avoid foods and ingredients that harm sexual health. A number of foods (e.g., red and processed meat, sugary foods, canned tomatoes, nonorganic potatoes), supplements (e.g., calcium), and food additives can be harmful to prostate and overall health. One of the best ways to avoid these and other potentially hazardous items is to follow The Prostate Diet.
Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese can be detrimental to erectile function, as it increases the risk for diabetes and vascular disease, two factors that contribute to ED.
Drink pure water. Staying properly hydrated is essential for optimal blood circulation, which can help prevent one of the main causes of erectile dysfunction—poor blood flow.
Rein in stress. Stress can have a significant impact on erectile dysfunction and is intimately related to performance anxiety. Chronic stress can weaken the immune system, change your hormone balance, and have a negative impact on sexual function. Practicing stress management techniques (e.g., deep breathing, meditation, yoga, tai chi, etc.) daily can help rein in stress.
Maintain hormone balance. Erectile function depends in part on maintaining a healthy hormone balance, especially between testosterone and estrogen. Coincidentally, following the healthful natural remedies discussed here are key to achieving balanced hormones.
Avoid constipation. Having constipation makes sexual activity and an erection less desirable. You can avoid constipation by following a high-fiber diet, drinking enough liquids (especially pure water), and engaging in physical activity every day.
Safeguard the perineal area. Activities that can restrict blood flow to the perineal area, such as riding a bicycle or a horse, can affect the ability to achieve and maintain an erection.
Maintain communication with your partner. One of the best natural remedies for erectile dysfunction may be communication with your partner. Men who share their concerns and erectile dysfunction treatment program with their partner often have better results. Communication may also involve having your partner come to your doctor visits and/or consulting a sex therapist or other counselor as a couple.
Limit or lay off the porn. Sharing some erotica or porn with your partner may help spice up your sex life, but beware. Some research indicates that the dramatic increase in the number of men 40 and younger who are experiencing erectile dysfunction may be due in part to the availability of Internet pornography. Men may get unrealistic expectations from watching too much porn and are disappointed when real-life partners don’t live up to the fiction portrayed on the Internet, which can result in erectile dysfunction and unsatisfactory sexual experiences.
Natural remedy treatments for ED can be stand-alone as well as complementary options. You should consider all your options when looking for ways to manage erectile disorders and consult a knowledgeable professional about the risks and benefits of both medical and natural remedies for erectile dysfunction.
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