According to research, erectile dysfunction (ED) afflicts over 30 million men across the U.S. While the condition is extremely common, it shouldn’t be overlooked. If left undiagnosed and untreated, ED can cause long-term health risks and trigger mental health conditions.
Also known as impotence, ED is the inability to develop and sustain an erection during sexual intercourse. Common causes of ED include—but are not restricted to—cardiovascular disease, obesity, stress, anxiety, kidney disease, and sleep disorders, among others. Upon diagnosis, adequate care and management are essential.
Here are five common dos and don’ts for patients with ED:
1. Do Stick to the Right Diet
According to research, obesity can cause ED. If you have an unhealthy BMI, make dietary changes by replacing high-cholesterol foods with fruit, vegetables, and whole grain. Here’s a food guide for ED to help you adjust your diet to improve bloodflow.
2. Do Indulge in Adequate Exercise
Exercise is your best friend when it comes to combating ED. We suggest walking, jogging, running, or using a cardio machine for 20–40 minutes regularly. Exercise acts as a libido enhancer and increases blood flow.
3. Do Get Enough Rest at Night
Have you been getting enough sleep at night? Sleep disorders directly impact testosterone levels, resulting in ED.
If you suffer from insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea, or shift work disorder (among other sleep-related conditions), it’s very likely that your ED has been triggered because of these sleep irregularities.
4. Do Consult an Expert Urologist
While making adjustments like the ones mentioned above can help greatly, consulting an ED expert is essential. A urologist can help diagnose and treat your condition to remedy your condition quickly.
In some cases, ED can be indicative of other underlying conditions that require immediate care. Your doctor may order additional testing to either rule out or confirm a potential correlation.
Ultimately, your health should be your top priority. Don’t put off the symptoms—get professional help as soon as you see signs of developing ED.
5. Do Consider Counseling
If adjusting your diet, exercising more, getting more sleep and seeing your urologist don’t work, don’t be afraid to explore couples counseling if you suffer from ED. While consulting a urologist is essential and can address physical causes, seeking therapy can uncover possible relationship issues that may be affecting your performance.
These factors can collectively help restore your sexual functioning. If you don’t notice a difference after adopting these measures, you may need to look at some things that you are doing that may be causing your ED.
1. Don’t Smoke
Smoking disrupts blood vessels and reduces the chances of developing and sustaining an erection. If you’re an avid smoker, start the process of quitting today.
According to research, your circulation and blood pressure will begin to normalize within 2–12 weeks of quitting.
2. Don’t Consider Alcohol an Aphrodisiac
Turning to alcohol as an aphrodisiac may sound tempting, but it can do more harm than good. Consuming alcohol in large quantities can worsen your ED and trigger the loss of sexual desire. In fact, alcohol abuse is also one of the leading causes of developing ED.
3. Don’t Dismiss Stress
Stress and anxiety play a big role in triggering and aggravating erectile dysfunction. In many cases, couples counseling or individual therapy can help you navigate complex and unresolved issues both you or your partner may have.
Resolving mental issues can significantly improve your outlook, lowering your stress which, in turn, improves your sex life.
4. Don’t Hide Your ED From Your Partner
Avoiding intimacy and not discussing your ED with your partner only make things worse. Keep all avenues of communication open. Use couples therapy to discuss your condition with your partner and ask for much-needed emotional support.
If you continue to hide your ED, you’ll be doing your partner a disservice. Be open and honest with them and ask for understanding as you make lifestyle changes and seek professional help. Secrecy causes partners to question their relationships simply because they don’t know what’s going on. Getting the issue out in the open helps both of you feel relieved and gets you on the road to improvement.
5. Don’t Try to Turn to a Quick Fix
Quick fixes like over-the-counter medication may sound like a convenient option but they’ll shroud the underlying issues, if any. As mentioned above, consulting a reputable urologist is imperative. If you’re struggling to manage your ED, we can help you out.
Our experienced urologists will examine your symptoms and create an individualized treatment plan for your particular issue. Find out more about the symptoms of erectile dysfunction at Houston Physicians’ Hospital. Or you can find an expert urologist that’s right for you on our website. Simply choose a doctor and make your appointment directly with their office.