by Dr. Charles Wilson
Erectile dysfunction becomes more common as men age. Very often, erectile dysfunction is a marker for poor cardiovascular health. But it does not have to be a normal part of aging. Men decide how properly their penis will function by the lifestyle choices they make earlier in life. For many men, they know their lifestyle may be harming their health, but it isn’t a reality until it begins to affect their sex life. By following these 7 simple tips, men could protect their penis and ward off erectile dysfunction.
Skip the red meat and eat your veggies
Straining your waist band could put your penis at risk, too. Men with a waist circumference of 39 inches or greater are more than twice as likely to have erectile dysfunction as those with waists below 35 inches. Diets that include red meat and very few fruits and vegetables along with lots of fatty, fried and processed foods can contribute to decreased blood circulation throughout the body. Blood flow is absolutely necessary for the penis to become erect.
A high waist circumference indicates higher levels of harmful visceral fat and visceral fat is linked to lower testosterone and more inflammation, both factors that can hurt your sex life.
Kick the habit
Everyone knows smoking is bad for your health. But did you know smoking is directly linked to erectile dysfunction? Smoking damages the cells on the inner lining of your blood vessels. These cells start the chemical
cascade that makes an erection possible. Men who smoke are 51% more likely to experience erectile dysfunction than men that do not. In just one year after quitting smoking, 25 percent of ex-smokers report they experience improvement in their erections.
Drink in moderation
Chronic heavy drinking can cause liver damage, nerve damage, and other conditions that interfere with the normal balance of male sex hormones and can eventually lead to erectile dysfunction.
Did you know some over-the-counter and even prescription medications can cause problems with your erection? These include antidepressants, blood pressure medications, narcotic pain relievers, cold remedies and antihistamines. Ask your doctor if any of your medications may be contributing to your sexual dysfunction.
Strong evidence has proven that a sedentary lifestyle is linked to erectile dysfunction. Exercise such as jogging, swimming, and other forms of aerobic conditioning have been shown to prevent erectile dysfunction. Some forms of exercise should actually be avoided though, including excessive pressure on the perineum, which is the area between the scrotum and anus. Both blood vessels and the nerves that supply the penis can be adversely affected from excessive pressure in this area. Bicycle riding is an example of an exercise that should be avoided in men with a history of erectile dysfunction.
Be sure to keep your stress levels in check. Men with demanding jobs or busy home lives have a hard time settling down, which means their anxiety is in high gear for most of the day – keeping them from ever reaching full-throttle in the bedroom.
Men should sleep at least 6 hours a night, although 7 or 8 is ideal. Men who sleep 5 hours or less have low testosterone levels. Quality sleep is especially important in younger men, where testosterone plays a very important part in their lifestyle.
Lastly, men who have tried a variety of lifestyle changes and treatments for erectile dysfunction with no success or who have severe erectile dysfunction may be candidates for penis surgery. There are many different options that can be assessed. Please talk to your doctor for more information regarding your options.
About Dr. Wilson
Dr. Charles Wilson is a Board Certified surgeon specializing in laparoscopic surgery. Dr. Wilson received his medical degree from St. George’s University School of Medicine in Grenada, West Indies in 2003. He then completed his surgical residency at the Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, New Jersey in 2008. During residency, Dr. Wilson trained in Surgical Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.