Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a topic most men would rather avoid, but it’s also one of the most common conditions they experience.
In fact, with age comes a progressively higher chance of suffering the condition.
Now, a new review of studies, published in BJU International, has found that the global prevalence of ED varies widely from country to country.
While only 3 percent of men in some areas of the world live with ED, the condition strikes a whopping 76.5 percent of men in others.
In the U.S., on average 52 percent of American men are diagnosed with ED. Age has a big effect on that number. While 40 percent of men are affected by age 40, that number skyrockets to almost 70 percent by age 70.
Not only can ED put a damper on a fulfilling sex life, the condition has a complex relationship with a man’s overall health — and that makes it even more important that we talk about it without embarrassment or shame.
So, what’s causing the ED epidemic in our country?
According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common risks associated with the condition include heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol and blood pressure, metabolic syndrome and obesity.
All hallmark diseases of a Standard American Diet, heavy in meat and processed foods and low in plants.
But not only is ED caused by some medical conditions, it can also contribute to them. A man suffering from ED has a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, dementia and even early death.
Other lifestyle factors can contribute to ED as well, including:
Tobacco use — Over time, tobacco use can severely restrict your blood flow and without good blood flow, you can end up with erectile dysfunction.
Drugs — Medications such as antidepressants, prostate and blood pressure drugs can all lead to sexual dysfunction.
Alcohol — Drinking heavily is also a major risk factor for problems achieving and maintaining an erection.
Maintaining healthy sexual function
Luckily, there are things men can do to keep from falling victim to ED. The first place to start is to avoid any of those lifestyle behaviors that can lead to ED. If you take any of the medications that may contribute, talk to your doctor about the possibility of changing or tapering off them, if possible.
The second step is to adopt some healthier lifestyle habits. If most men give these suggestions a try long enough, they’re likely to feel better overall as well as ward off their ED problems…
#1 — Maintain a healthy weight
If you’re carrying around a few extra pounds, it’s time to drop that weight for better sexual health. Obesity is linked to diabetes and heart disease, two big risk factors for ED. Also, increased levels of fat in your body can alter the balance of hormones that allow you to achieve an erection.
#2 — Eat for sexual health
That Massachusetts Male Aging Study that we talked about earlier found that with less red meat and processed foods but high in fresh fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains can help you dramatically reduce your risk of sexual dysfunction.
Also, a small study found that ED improved in men who cut down on eating foods high in cholesterol and triglycerides.
#3 — Do Kegel exercises
No, Kegel exercises are not just for women. And in fact, a stronger pelvic floor can help keep blood from flowing away from the penis to maintain a healthy erection.
To recognize pelvic floor muscle, try to stop the stream of urine during a trip to the restroom. The muscles you use to do that are the pelvic floor muscles. To do a Kegel exercise, follow these steps:
Start by holding your pelvic floor muscles in for five seconds. To pull in your pelvic floor, think of pulling in and lifting up your genitals. Don’t hold your breath while you do this. Counting out loud can stop you from holding your breath.
After holding for five seconds, slowly and completely relax your muscles for five seconds.
Repeat this process 10 times, at least three times every day.
Try doing them while sitting in traffic or watching TV in the evenings.
#4 — Get nutrients that boost vitality
Certain foods and supplements can enhance sexual health:
Dimethylglycine (or DMG) — DMG is needed by every cell of your body to create hormones and support healthy oxygen levels. It helps to invigorate your entire body so that you feel vital and youthful. Good sources are beans and liver.
Nitrosigine® — This patented complex of L-arginine and silicon works hand-in-hand to support healthy blood vessels and circulation by promoting nitric oxide production. Nitric oxide helps to dilate your blood vessels so that blood can flow freely. And since healthy blood flow is key to healthy erections, it’s a supplement you shouldn’t miss. Beets help your body produce nitric oxide.
Di-Indole Methane (DIM) — This phytonutrient, found in cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cabbage, supports a healthy hormonal balance. And it promotes your body’s natural detoxifications of xenoestrogens that can cause “estrogen dominance.” Because of this, it has the power to support more energy, strong muscles and a healthy sex drive.
The incidence of erectile dysfunction may be high in the U.S. but that doesn’t mean nothing can be done to help remedy that situation.