Around the world, there are millions of men who suffer from erectile dysfunction. It is a condition characterized as the inability to get and sustain an erection for pleasurable sex. According to various studies, it is more likely to hit you if you are older, with a 40% likelihood once you are in your 40s and a 70% chance after age 70.
Symptoms to watch out for – The common warning signs of erectile dysfunction
The following are the signs and symptoms of erectile dysfunction:
- Reduced libido or sexual desire
- Inability to get an erect penis despite some sexual stimulation
- Can achieve an erection but it is not firm or long lasting enough to satisfy you and/or your sex partner
If you have trouble achieving or maintaining an erection once in a while, you should not think right away that you have erectile dysfunction. Experiencing erectile issues occasionally is not really a big deal, especially if you are going through some highly stressful situations at work, at home, or in your personal life.
However, if this problem happens almost every time you have sex, that is when you should do something about it. You have to go pay your doctor a visit as soon as possible to find out the cause of your erectile dysfunction is and the best treatment for it.
Practices and habits to avoid – Risk factors linked to erectile dysfunction
Sometimes, erectile dysfunction can occur due to bad habits and practices. If you want to protect your penis and erections, you have to be aware of them and make sure that you stop doing them. The following are major no-nos when it comes to men’s sexual health:
Eating fatty foods
Foods that are high in cholesterol are bad for your heart and cardiovascular function. They can cause fat and cholesterol deposits to form in your arteries, blocking your blood circulation. If blood flow to your penis is disrupted, you will have a tough time getting and maintaining an erection during sex. In addition, fatty foods increase your risk of obesity, diabetes, and other health problems that can reduce your strength, stamina, and endurance in bed.
For optimal sexual and overall health, you ditch those fatty foods and replace them with heart-healthy foods. Eat more plant proteins and fatty fish that are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. On your next trip to the grocery store, buy some avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil, which are all great sources of healthy fats.
Drinking too much alcohol
A lot of people consider drinking to be a fun and enjoyable activity that can be a great bonding moment with friends, but doing it too much and too often is actually detrimental to your sexual health. Excessive alcohol consumption can cause your body to produce less testosterone than usual, resulting to reduced libido or sexual desire, weak erections, and decrease in sperm count and quality.
According to health experts, to not put your health in danger, you should not drink more than 2 drinks per day if you are a man, or more than 1 drink per day if you are a woman. By knowing your limits, you not only can improve your performance in bed but also lower your risk of heart disease, liver damage, kidney problems, and other diseases.
Physical activity is crucial to your sexual health. The more active you are, the lower your risk of erectile dysfunction is. If you work a desk job, spending 7 or more hours sitting in front of the computer, you should find the time to get some exercise during your free time. You can take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk your dog before you go to work in the morning, or do some garden work on the weekends. You should avoid using your days off just playing video games or binge watching television series and movies, barely moving at all.
Exercising on a regular basis, such as by walking, biking, swimming, or running, even for just 20 to 30 minutes a day, can improve blood circulation in your body. With enough blood flowing to your penis, you should be able to get and maintain an erection with no issues. You can also have higher energy levels, build strength and stamina, and strengthen your heart and lungs, which are all important for a satisfactory and pleasurable sexual experience.
Diagnosing erectile dysfunction – Evaluating your sexual health and medical history
To know if you have erectile dysfunction, your doctor will conduct a patient evaluation and a physical exam to dig deep into your medical and sexual history. It is vital that you give honest answers so that an accurate diagnosis can be made. The following are examples of questions that your doctor may ask you:
- How many times have you had erectile issues?
- When did it first occur?
- Did it happen suddenly or gradually?
- How active are you sexually?
- Using a scale of 1 to 10, how do you rate the firmness of your erections?
- Do you get erections in the morning and/or at night?
- Do you have trouble getting aroused, ejaculating, or achieving orgasm?
After these sexually-related questions, your doctor may then ask you about your medical history. They will ask if:
- You have had radiation therapy or surgery before
- You manifest signs and symptoms linked to diabetes, kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, or neurologic disease
- You are taking or have a history of taking any over-the-counter medicines, prescription medications, supplements, or recreational drugs
- You suffered from a spinal cord, perineal, or pelvic genital trauma
- You have a history of sexually transmitted infections
You may then have to undergo some laboratory tests after this. Once your doctor makes a diagnosis, you should talk to them about how to treat your erectile dysfunction. They may recommend changing your lifestyle, taking oral medications, or undergoing surgical treatments.