Erectile dysfunction (ED), also known as impotence, is the inability to acquire or sustain an erection firm enough to enable sexual intercourse. ED is a fairly common disorder, affecting up to 30 million Americans.
Erectile dysfunction is linked to a whole range of psychological, physical, and lifestyle factors. According to WebMD, over 70% of ED cases are caused by conditions such as kidney disease, atherosclerosis, diabetes, and obesity. Certain medications, psychological problems, and physical injuries can also cause ED.
With so many potential causes, how do you stop erectile dysfunction?
Oral medications are some of the most successful cures for ED. Some of the more popular varieties include Viagra (Sildenafil), Cialis (Tadalafil), Levitra (Vardenafil), and Stendra (Avanafil). These medications, collectively called PDE-5 inhibitors, work by relaxing the penile muscles, allowing for increased blood flow into the penis.
According to Dr. Irwin Goldman, the chief editor of The Journal of Sexual Medicine, these drugs are 70% effective. Dr. Goldman says these drugs are generally safe but may have side effects such as indigestion, headache, and sinus congestion.
When oral medication is not effective, penile injection may be recommended. Injectable drugs such as alprostadil and phentolamine work in a similar way to ED pills.
Another way to stop erectile dysfunction is through lifestyle changes. Smoking, alcohol consumption, and lack of exercise are some of the factors that can complicate ED.
A study conducted at the University of Adelaide and published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine showed that it is possible to completely reverse erectile dysfunction by changing various aspects of lifestyle. By taking steps such as reducing alcohol intake, fighting obesity, and getting adequate sleep, 29% of the 810 men involved in the study were able to completely overcome erectile dysfunction issues.
The lead researcher, Dr. Sean Martin, suggests that even where medication is required, “it is likely to be considerably more effective if lifestyle factors are also addressed”. Treating the underlying conditions such as kidney disease, diabetes, and cardiovascular complications is usually the most effective way to permanently reverse ED.
For men whose ED is caused by specific blood vessel problems, such as blocked arteries and blood leakage in the penis, corrective vascular surgery may be an option. However, the success rate of this type of surgery in restoring full erectile function is low (30%).
How do you stop erectile dysfunction naturally? Is it even possible?
Some of the most popular natural remedies for erectile dysfunction include arginine, pomegranate juice, saffron, and pine extracts among others. According to WebMD, there isn’t much evidence to support the efficacy of natural cures for ED.
However, that hasn’t kept programs like Jason Long’s Erectile Dysfunction Protocol from becoming extremely popular, with many men reporting successful results. Long’s ED Protocol is a diet-based system that is easy to implement with no side effects. This explains why it is often the first choice for men seeking natural home remedies for ED.
Acupuncture has long been hailed as a cure for ED but a 2009 South Korean study cited on WebMD appeared to discredit its effectiveness. Yohimbine bark extracts are probably the only widely studied alternative ED cure that has been shown to be effective, with up to 40% of men reporting improvement.
Hormonal Therapy And Supplements
A procedure known as testosterone replacement therapy may help impotence sufferers with low testosterone levels regain their sexual function. DHEA supplements, which increase testosterone levels, can also alleviate ED in some cases. These supplements are usually applied daily on the shoulders in gel form.
Penile Pumps And Implants
Penile pumps and implants are collectively known as external erection-facilitating devices. Penis pumps are hollow tubes that are placed over the penis. Air is then pumped out to create a vacuum which pulls blood into the penis, causing an erection. The erection is maintained using a tension ring that attaches to the base of the penis to hold blood in. The Mayo Clinic recommends consulting a doctor before using this device, because it is not safe for everyone.
Penile implants are inflatable rods that are placed on both sides of the penis. The rods can be inflated when needed to create an erection. Similar to penile pumps, this method is recommended as a last resort because it comes with a high risk of infections and injury.
ED resulting from psychological factors such as stress, anxiety, or tension requires a greater amount of mental intervention. Sex therapy can help to overcome performance anxiety (one of the most common ED causes) by teaching the nature of sex and by helping improve communication with one’s partner.
Depression doubles the likelihood of getting ED. Counseling to alleviate stress is therefore an important step in fighting impotence and stopping erectile dysfunction for good.