Male erectile dysfunction (ED) has been defined as the persistent inability to attain and/or maintain an erection sufficient for sexual performance (1). ED is very common, and its prevalence as well as severity increases with age (2). It has been recognized that the major cause of ED is atherosclerosis affecting the pelvic vasculature (3). The presence of ED has been known to predict future cardiovascular disease, and early detection may allow timely modification of remediable risk factors, or lead to the diagnosis of occult cardiovascular disease (4, 5).
ED can also occur among younger men. A 2013 study found that one in four men seeking their first treatment for ED were under the age of 40. The researchers found a stronger correlation between smoking and illicit drug use and ED in men under 40 than among older men. That suggests that lifestyle choices may be a main contributing factor for ED in younger men.
So what causes erectile dysfunction? Sometimes it is a circulation problem. Sometimes it is a low testosterone issue. Sometimes it is not. Testosterone (T) supplementation can help ED and low libido in cases of low T and even if there is a normal T level at baseline, ED can be helped. In cases where thyroid under or overactivity is causing T levels to be less than optimal. Aging is also a problem as T levels drop after mid 20’s and as adipose tissue increases and aromatase enzyme conversion of T to Estrogen correspondingly increases. This causes an unfavorable E:T ratio which equates to low T.
Long prescribed for women who want to restore muscle tone after childbirth, pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegel exercises, can benefit men significantly too. A study by researchers at the University of West of England in Bristol showed that pelvic floor exercises can help men with erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation. Furthermore, experts think these exercises can make orgasms stronger. Once learned, pelvic floor exercises can be done any time, even while doing other things.
If you have symptoms of ED, it’s important to check with your doctor before trying any treatments on your own. This is because ED can be a sign of other health problems. For instance, heart disease or high cholesterol could cause ED symptoms. With a diagnosis, your doctor could recommend a number of steps that would likely improve both your heart health and your ED. These steps include lowering your cholesterol, reducing your weight, or taking medications to unclog your blood vessels.
Pay attention to your vascular health. High blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and high triglycerides can all damage arteries in the heart (causing heart attack), in the brain (causing stroke), and leading to the penis (causing ED). An expanding waistline also contributes. Check with your doctor to find out whether your vascular system — and thus your heart, brain, and penis — is in good shape or needs a tune-up through lifestyle changes and, if necessary, medications.
Penile erection is a hemodynamic process involving increased arterial inflow and restricted venous outflow, coordinated with corpus cavernosum and penile arterial smooth muscle relaxation. Any problem in this mechanism results in ED, and its etiology is generally multifactorial (6). Diabetes, hypertension, high serum cholesterol level, peripheral vascular disease and cardiac problems are significantly found together with ED (7). However, vascular reasons predominate in the etiology of ED and it frequently appears along with atherosclerosis (7). It is known that atherosclerotic lesions prevent blood flow into cavernosal tissues resulting in ED (8).
Niacin, prescribed for more than 50 years, has been successful in treating all three types of lipids in your bloodstream. It can reduce levels of low-density lipoprotein -- LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol -- and triglycerides, as well as elevate your levels of protective high-density lipoprotein -- HDL, or “good,” cholesterol. But other medications, as well as diet and lifestyle changes, can restore your cholesterol to heart-healthy levels. If you currently take niacin and want to start taking medication to treat erectile dysfunction, ask your doctor about switching to a different type of cholesterol medication.
Supplements are popular and often cheaper than prescription drugs for ED. However, supplements have not been tested to see how well they work or if they are a safe treatment for ED. Patients should know that many over-the-counter drugs have been found on drug testing to have ‘bootlegged' PDE 5 Inhibitors as their main ingredient. The amounts of Viagra, Cialis, Levitra or Stendra that may be in these supplements is not under quality control and may differ from pill to pill. The FDA has issued consumer warnings and alerts.
In conclusion, aerobic training can successfully treat ED in selected patients with arterogenic ED. However, there are very few high-quality randomized trials regarding aerobic training and ED. Practitioners should bear in mind that aerobic training and other risk factors modification is associated with higher rates of ED management success.Since these results are based on small studies, the evidence would be stronger if confirmed by large trials. Effectiveness data were limited; however, the effectiveness of ED is largely determined by the patient health status and associated condition. In addition, work is needed in the standardization of follow-up protocols, evaluation of ED management success and failure, patient selection, and statistical analysis. More randomized studies that compare various exercise techniques are warranted. These studies should evaluate efficacy, complications, quality of life, cost implications, and long-term outcomes of ED management compare to other therapeutic modalities available. Also more database search is also warranted to further broaden the data search on the topic.
Research in the medical journal Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine found that supplementing with the mineral zinc, along with the vitamins folic acid and biotin, as well as the herb Rhodiola rosea improved ejaculatory control in males suffering from premature ejaculation. Premature ejaculation is a common type of sexual dysfunction that affects 20 to 30 percent of men between the ages of 18 and 55. The low incidence of any side-effects of these natural treatments may also make it preferable to drug treatments by many men.
What if we look at erectile dysfunction as something that can be addressed as a condition other than a “pill for every ill”. What if we actually look at a nutrient level that directly correlates to a medical condition and follow the science to give a directive on its recommendation? Well it turns out taking a simple zinc supplement won’t help 100% of the time, but it certainly helps some of the time.
Health benefits and risks of copper Copper is an essential trace mineral that occurs in all body tissues. It is vital for a range of body functions including the production of red blood cells and energy, and the maintenance of nerve cells and the immune system. A copper deficiency can be harmful, but too much can be toxic. Learn more about copper here. Read now