Malfunctions of the proverbial trouser snake are by no means uncommon and, contrary to popular misconception, are more often caused by physiological factors than psychological. Still, you’ll go a long way down a dead-end street before you find a gent willing to openly discuss Erectile Dysfunction (ED).
Despite as many as 1 in 10 men suffering from ED at least once in their lives, the condition is often treated as a shameful secret or simply ignored. A vicious cycle of negative thoughts or anxiety about sex can follow, causing a reasonably insignificant problem to spiral, reduce self-esteem and lead to relationship difficulties.
But from meditation to medication, there are several ways to beat the erectile blues and get back on the horse, as it were.
First off, see your GP
Completely impartial and totally confidential, it’s the first port of call to understand the cause of your, more than likely, temporary problem. Your John Thomas isn’t the first one they’ve treated and it won’t be the last.
Restrictions of blood flow, nerve damage or neurological conditions are the most common cause of ED, closely followed by poor diet, stress and general physical health factors, such as smoking and drinking. A thorough going-over of everything from your cholesterol levels to your blood pressure should identify the problem. For many men, simply understanding the physical cause can prevent feelings of emasculation and a drop in confidence. Doctor knows best.
Abandon the Belly
Whether beer induced or otherwise, being overweight causes a belly full of problems, not least of which is restricted blood circulation. If achieving an erection, or maintaining it for intercourse is a problem, it’s likely that not enough blood is reaching the area.
Exercising to improve your circulation and trim the excess pounds will improve your general health. It’s also a positive, proactive way to take the problem into your own hands, so to speak.
Change your Diet
In line with cutting out the fatty, artery-choking stuff, throw a few super foods into your everyday diet to boost your prospects of beating ED quickly. Foods high in zinc, such as whole grains, turkey, peanuts, milk and cheese are easy to get into your daily diet without too much trauma and they give your testosterone levels a leg-up.
Oysters are a great source of zinc and have a reputation for enflaming sexual desire as a strong aphrodisiac… maybe not so much of an everyday choice though. Instead roast a whole clove of garlic with your chicken or turkey and squeeze out the tasty goodness for a great flavour for you and a big favour for your arteries and blood vessels.
Foods high in vitamin E are fantastic for the heart, which in turn is good news for blood flow. Almonds, peanuts, pine nuts, apricots, broccoli, spinach and mango are all vitamin E champions: substitute any of these for your in-between-meal snacks and you’ll be doing your heart and your circulation the world of good.
Red berries are the artery’s best friend. Relaxing arteries so blood flow is improved, they’re also a tasty alternative to sugar for the sweet of tooth. Combine with plain yoghurt for a healthy kick-start to your day.
Keep Calm and Catch your Breath
Stress is a part of life. Whether at home, work or play, life consistently offers us events to fret about. Stress comes from our response to these events and, though the challenge is not to be underestimated, it is in our control. Signs of stress can come in many forms, from mental anxiety to mood swings to physical symptoms, such as headaches, stomach pains or, you guessed it, ED.
Ask for help from work, your family and your GP and allow yourself time to detach from daily activities. Steal a few moments to stop, breathe and slow your thoughts.
Gentle exercise, a healthy diet and a healthy dose of honesty with those around you should take the pressure off in the long-term, and in the meantime, read up on a few basic breathing exercises to do alone, in a supermarket, at your desk or anywhere you choose. Counseling, accessed through your GP, can also be extremely helpful in supporting people suffering from symptoms of stress.
MedicationAll of the above get the general thumbs up for a healthy active lifestyle and sex life but sometimes a doctor may recommend the use of a stimulating drug to help. You can combat erectile dysfunction with Viagra, although you should always seek the advice of your GP before doing so.
Have you struggled with or overcome erectile dysfunction? Let us know what worked for you to solve the problem.