The development of PDE5-inhibitors is a clear example of how Western medicine approached the problem of ED differently from Eastern medicine. The erectogenic effect of sildenafil (Viagra®) was discovered by accident when patients undergoing heart clinical trials reported better erections as a side effect after taking sildenafil. This observation led to further elucidation of the NO/cGMP signalling pathway and development of PDE5-inhibitors as a first-line therapy in ED (5).
The phrase “use it before you lose it” can be applied when it comes to helping men with ED regain normal erectile function. Pelvic exercises, more commonly known as kegel exercises, are used to promote urinary continence and sexual health. They help to strengthen the bulbocavernosus muscle, which does three things: allows the penis to engorge with blood during erection, it pumps during ejaculation, and it helps empty the urethra after urination, according to Healthline.
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Derived from the bark of a West African evergreen tree, yohimbe was the go-to ‘script for a wonky willy prior to the advent of wonder drugs like Viagra, Walker says. “Yohimbe enhances sexual performance both by blocking certain neurotransmitters in the brain and by increasing the release of nitric oxide in the cavernosal nerves of the penis,” he explains. And it pairs well with other erection-friendly tablets: A 2010 study in the Iranian Journal of Psychiatry found that a combination of yohimbe and L-arginine successfully helps guys get it up. However, yohimbe also has a handful of side effects, including elevated blood pressure and anxiety, so definitely talk to your doctor before you start on the supp.
The lack of strong scientific proof that vitamin supplementation can improve erectile function doesn’t stop companies from selling vitamins, herbal supplements, and other products with the promise that they will do the job. ED is often treatable with prescription medications or medical procedures, so be careful not to get taken by a manufacturer’s empty promises.
The penile roots are enveloped by two pelvic floor muscles, the bulbocavernosus (BC) and the ischiocavernosus (IC). The IC muscle is the “erector muscle” and the BC muscle the “ejaculator muscle.” The BC and IC muscles are responsible for the ability to lift one’s erect penis up and down (wag the penis) as they are contracted and relaxed. Although not muscles of glamour, they are certainly muscles of “amour.” Although unseen and behind-the-scenes, hidden from view, these often unrecognized and misunderstood muscles have vital functions in addition to erection and ejaculation. When the pelvic floor muscles are not functioning optimally, one loses the potential for full erectile rigidity. Like other skeletal muscles, they can undergo “disuse atrophy,” becoming thinner, flabbier and less functional with aging, weight gain, sedentary lifestyles, poor posture, chronic straining and other forms of trauma, including pelvic surgery (e.g., prostatectomy). Exercising them can enhance sexual health; maintain sexual health; help prevent the occurrence of ED in the future; and help manage ED. Specifically, pelvic floor exercises can be beneficial with respect to the following spectrum of issues: ED; ejaculation issues including premature ejaculation; urinary incontinence; overactive bladder; post-void dribbling; and bowel urgency and incontinence. One of the challenges of pelvic floor training is that most men do not know where their pelvic muscles are located, what they do, how to exercise them, and what benefits exercising them may confer. In fact, many men don’t even know that they have pelvic floor muscles. Because they are out of sight, they are often out of mind and not considered when it comes to exercise and fitness. However, although concealed from view, they deserve serious respect as they are responsible for vital functions that can be enhanced when intensified by training. Pelvic floor muscle training before and after prostate cancer surgery can facilitate the resumption of urinary control and sexual function after surgery. Pelvic floor training is also useful for men who suffer with stress urinary incontinence following prostatectomy. This is a spurt-like urinary leakage that occurs at times of increased abdominal pressure, such as with sports and other high impact activities. Pelvic floor contractions on demand are a technique in which the pelvic muscles are braced and briskly engaged at the time or just before any activity that triggers the stress incontinence. When practiced diligently, this can ultimately become an automatic behavior and the incontinence improved, if not resolved.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is commonly called impotence. It’s a condition in which a man can’t achieve or maintain an erection during sexual performance. Symptoms may also include reduced sexual desire or libido. Your doctor is likely to diagnose you with ED if the condition lasts for more than a few weeks or months. ED affects as many as 30 million men in the United States.
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