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Erectile dysfunction affects hundreds of men and gets more common with age, but there are many ways of preventing male impotence.
Male impotence, also known as erectile dysfunction (ED), is the inability to get or maintain an erection. It is a common grievance with reports that around 2.5million men in the UK can have male impotence at any one time¹. Although it is more common with older men, it can affect men of all ages.
Erectile dysfunction can cause frustration, embarrassment and anxiety, all of which make it even more difficult to maintain an erection and so creating a downward spiral. By making a few changes to your lifestyle, you can keep your blood flow strong and healthy, which can help to prevent the physical reasons behind erectile dysfunction.
1. Eat a balanced diet
Ingredients in processed foods such as saturated fat, too much salt and added sugar are all known for being bad for your heart, making them detrimental to your blood flow, too. Eating too many of these foods can make it more difficult for your blood to flow correctly, leading to problems getting an erection. Make sure you are getting plenty of low fat/low refined sugar foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean protein like poultry. Omega 3 is also important for a healthy heart. It’s more commonly found in oily fish and eggs, so aim to eat two portions a week of either. A dietary consultation can help you to create a diet plan that is right for you and your individual health needs.
2. Get plenty of exercise
Exercise, especially aerobic exercise, is another proven way of increasing your blood flow. Any exercise that significantly increases your heart rate, like running, swimming, kick boxing and hiking is affective at keeping your circulation strong. Aim for a minimum of 2.5 hours a week and try to pick something you enjoy so it doesn’t feel like a chore. Keeping fit can also help to boost your confidence and beat anxiety – two issues that can lead to impotence.
3. Steer clear of too much cycling
While getting plenty of exercise can help potency, too much cycling can lead to erectile dysfunction. Too much pressure from the bike seat can damage vital blood vessels. Changing your bike seat can help, with narrow bike seats reportedly reducing blood flow to the penis by as much as 66%2. If you are a keen cyclist, make sure your bike seat is fitted correctly, try standing up regularly while cycling, and wear padded shorts.
4. Avoid drinking too much alcohol
Although one or two drinks can improve your confidence in the bedroom, lots of men are familiar with the negative effects a night of heavy drinking can have on their ability to get an erection. In fact, it has been reported that men who rely on alcohol to help them perform are 60% to 70% more likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction3. Alcohol is a depressant, which means it lowers blood flow around the body and can damage nerves, making it harder to enjoy sex. Anyone worried about impotence should avoid drinking too much, or even consider cutting it out altogether.
5. Check your hormone levels?
If you are suffering from a lack of libido that’s impacting on your ability to get an erection, it could be worthwhile getting your hormone levels checked by the doctor. Testosterone is the male hormone that increases sex drive and it can dwindle as you get older. Approximately 15% to 25% of men over 65 report to suffer from male impotency, and this can be down to lower testosterone in their blood4. If your testosterone levels are low, your doctor can recommend a practical solution such as hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
6. Lower your cholesterol
High cholesterol is when you have lots of a fatty substance in your blood. It can damage the blood vessels, leading to problems getting and maintaining an erection. Foods high in saturated fats like fatty cuts of red meat, poultry with the skin on, butter, cream and cheese can increase your cholesterol. You can get your levels of cholesterol checked by a doctor who will recommend tips for changing your diet to keep it down.
7. Keep your blood pressure down
High blood pressure can also damage the blood vessels, often leading to erectile dysfunction. Being overweight is one of the main factors of high blood pressure, so try slimming your waistline to avoid impotence. Stress is also known to increase blood pressure, and if you’re feeling tense and anxious it’s likely that your confidence during sex will also drop. Speak to your doctor if you are struggling with stress to find ways of managing the pressures of everyday life.
8. Anxiety and depression/mental health
In younger men, anxiety is one of the main causes of erectile dysfunction. Psychological problems can increase adrenaline, which make the blood vessels contract in order to direct blood to vital organs making it difficult to get erection. Therefore, whether it’s directly related to sex or caused by outside factors, feeling tense or depressed can affect your erection ability. If you have concerns about your mental health or suffer from anxiety or depression, consider getting cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to help you tackle the problem.
9. Manage your diabetes
Up to 75% of men with diabetes may struggle with erectile problems because if it isn’t managed properly it can damage the blood vessels and nerves⁵. If you suffer from diabetes, follow your doctor’s instructions to keep your blood sugar levels under control and ask for further help if you are struggling to manage your diabetes.
10. Avoid certain medicines
A number of medicines such as certain antidepressants, diuretics and antihistamines are known to increase risks of male impotence. If you are regularly taking medication, find out if erectile dysfunction is a side effect and speak to your doctor about an alternative if the drug is a known cause.
There are plenty of other ways of stopping erectile dysfunction if it is already a grievance, including surgery, acupuncture and CBT. Enquire today to find out more about the treatments available.
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