To understand the physiology of erectile dysfunction, we need to know erection first. An erection occurs when impulses from the brain and genital nerves cause blood to fill the two chambers known as the corpora cavernosa in the male penis. This causes the penis to expand and stiffen. Anything that blocks these impulses or restricts blood flow to the penis can result in ED. This block may be caused by psychological, neurologic, hormonal, arterial, or cavernosal impairment or even from a combination of all these factors.3


ED is often treated with psychotherapy, behavior modification techniques, oral medications, locally injected drugs, vacuum devices, and sometimes even surgically implanted devices. In rare cases, surgery of the blood vessels may be necessary. In most cases, even when a physical cause is identified, emotional or psychological factors play a role as well.


I developed joint and muscle pain, periods of extreme fatigue, skin reactions, sun sensitivity, my blood pressure became above normal for the first time in my life, I have developed metabolic syndrome, high blood sugar (as in pre-diabetes), erectile dysfunction, recurring welt-like mouth and cheek sores, lots of gum loss, and bone thinning! I struggle with energy and motivation issues, and I often feel like my lungs burn when I workout or do aerobic exercise.
If seafood isn’t your thing — or the Casanova Breakfast Plan doesn’t work with your budget — know that fortified breakfast cereals are also good sources of B12. According to the USDA, healthy cereals such as Kellogg’s All-Bran, Special K, Smart Start and Whole Grain Total provide a full day’s allowance. Check the nutrition facts and opt for whole grains, which can help lower cholesterol levels. Having high cholesterol can lead to atherosclerosis, or clogged and constricted arteries, which inhibits blood flow. That’s dangerous for your heart, but guess which artery-rich organ you’ll probably notice it in first?
There’s a reason chocolate became a gift given before amorous activity. Cacao increases levels of the mood-boosting hormone serotonin, which can lower stress levels, boosting desire and making it easier to reach orgasm. And that’s not all: Cocoa also increases blood flow through the arteries and relaxes blood vessels, sending blood to all the right regions, which can boost pleasure.
I mentioned taking herbs and supplements to treat erectile dysfunction, so I want to add a note of caution about using so-called “natural male enhancement” pills. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recalls dozens (if not hundreds) of these products each year for containing the active ingredient in medications used to treat ED. When you buy those products from the internet, or even from a retail store, you have no real way of knowing what you’re ingesting. The active ingredient in drugs like Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra can negatively interact with other medications, so it’s essential that you take them with medical supervision.
Erectile dysfunction can occur as a side effect of medication taken for another health condition. Common culprits are high blood pressure meds, antidepressants, some diuretics, beta-blockers, heart medication, cholesterol meds, antipsychotic drugs, hormone drugs, corticosteroids, chemotherapy, and medication for male pattern baldness, among others.
×