6 Ways to Improve Erectile Dysfunction for Men

An awkward but necessary thing to discuss for men especially as we get older. According to the University of Wisconsin, 5 percent of men that are 40 years old have complete erectile dysfunction, and that number increases to about 15 percent of men at age 70. Mild and moderate erectile dysfunction affects approximately 10 percent of men per decade of life (i.e., 50 percent of men in their 50s, 60 percent of men in their 60s).

Of course, men at any age can get erectile dysfunction (ED) but this disease is more prevalent the older one becomes.

Most men are also embarrassed to discuss this issue with their health providers or partners as a door handle” issue. Meaning when the doctor has their hand on the door handle ready to leave the patient will say “Hey doc, can we do something about my issues in the bedroom”.

As a Family Medicine physician, this is a common issue that is brought up that I have to learn to properly manage and treat.

It can severely affect one’s quality of life if they are not able to perform for their partner. It can lead to stress on the relationship, feelings of guilt and frustration, and some sleepless nights. The good thing is that erectile dysfunction is something that is very treatable if properly addressed.

There are a variety of lifestyle and medication options that exist that I am going to get into. First I will explain briefly the science of erections and ED along with a couple of tips to help my boys out.

The Science of the Meaningful Erection 

The keyword when it comes to erections is blood flow. The penis is a very vascular organ made to respond to stimuli like touch ( a rub on the thigh) or sight (a well dressed beautiful woman or man). The penis is made mostly of large blood vessels, soft tissue, and firm connective tissue.

When our brain senses stimuli our body will release hormones to that increase the blood flow to the penis like nitrous oxide. These hormones divert blood flow from other organs to the penis to achieve erections. The penis will fill up with blood making it larger and firmer for penetration. Women also have the same physiological response where blood flow increases to the vagina leading to increased warmth and vaginal secretions in preparation for penetration.

No matter if you are a “shower” or “grower” a good erection is a must for any male. Without it, it can leave your partner dissatisfied and you overall frustrated.

How will you know if you have it?

Symptoms of ED

  • Trouble keeping an erection
  • Trouble getting an erection
  • Lack of libido or sex drive

Causes of ED

  • Increasing age
  • Having high blood sugar (Diabetes)
  • Having high blood pressure
  • Having cardiovascular disease
  • Having high cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Using drugs or drinking too much alcohol
  • Being obese

The saddest thing I have seen is that men are very complacent with living with their erectile dysfunction. It should not be a lifelong disease that debilitates someone, it should be a signal to a man that they must make changes in their own personal lives.

Remember, you do not have to live like this!

Of course, various treatments exist for erectile dysfunction including:

Before we start the expensive treatments and lifetime of medications, let me make some recommendations on some things you can change in your daily life for better and fulfilling erections.

Before we start the expensive treatments and lifetime of medications, let me make some recommendations on some things you can change in your daily life for better and fulfilling erections.

*** Penis Fun Facts

  • The brain does not cause ejaculation, it is all in the spinal cord and penis.
  • The average time of sex once erection is achieved is just under 3 minutes! Agree or no?

My 6 Tips for Erectile Dysfunction

1. Stop Smoking

Smoking damages blood vessels causing problems with blood flow which is crucial for a proper erection. Smoking causes damage to the lining of our blood vessels leading to inflammation. That inflammation will cause atherosclerosis (harmful plaques made of fat and dead tissue) that will hinder blood flow.

Smoking can also cause heart disease, obstructive lung disease, and increase your risk for multiple types of cancer. The longer one has smoked the higher the chance that there is irreversible damage to the blood vessels of the penis.

It can be a hard habit to quit but it can be done once you make the decision to quit. There are a variety of social supports and medications like pills and nicotine gum to make this change.

Address any Stress or Emotional Issues

Yes, people can be not in the mood to have sex. It is not just a lame excuse that people use to shoe someone away. “ I am not in the mood” can be a sign that is something is wrong with your sexual health. Depression and daily stress can contribute to erectile dysfunction.

In depression, a man’s depressed mood, lack of energy, and loss of libido can obviously lead to ED.

In stress, men cannot focus on sexually pleasing their partners. Other things that can pre-occupy men’s minds are financial stress, relationship issues, or deeper personal issues that have not been addressed like feelings of shame or guilt.

I highly suggest my dudes dealing with these issues seek help from a health care professional whether it be your primary care physician, psychiatrist, partner, or a therapist.

Getting More Exercise 

The CDC recommends that people get at least 150 minutes of exercise (where you break a sweat) a week. Why is this important?

Exercise promotes increased blood flow mostly to our muscles but other parts of the body as well. Other parts of the body include the penis.

Exercise causes the release of many hormones like endorphin for elevated mood and nitrous oxide for blood vessel flow. Also, exercise helps improve cardiac function which can delay the development of erectile dysfunction.

Weight Control 

There is a direct relationship between obesity and erectile dysfunction. According to a Harvard study, even though obese men may have the same levels of testosterone as normal men obese men still suffer higher rates of obesity.

Although the direct cause is not well understood, it is thought that obese people are more likely to have heart disease, atherosclerosis, and depression at a higher rate than the general population. 

All of these factors can contribute to erectile dysfunction.

Also being obese likely means poor diet, lack of exercise, and sedentary lifestyle.

Another thought of mine is that obese gentlemen have poorer self-esteem due to body image and they are not confident in the bedroom.

So make sure you are eating healthy and getting some exercise to keep the weight down the blood vessels flowing.

Avoid Exces​​​​s Alchohol ​​​​

Alcohol may seem like something that enhances sexual experience. It lowers the inhibitions making people more comfortable and willing to have sexual encounters.

However, that does not mean it is an aphrodisiac (like chocolate or figs). Quite the opposite it can lead to difficulty maintaining erections and achieving orgasms.

Alcohol is known as a central nervous system depressant or a “downer”. It overall decreases the number of neurons firing in our brain telling our body to do this that and the other.

In addition, alcohol also makes us very dehydrated even though you could be drinking a pitcher of beer or bottle of wine. Alcohol inhibits a key hormone called antidiuretic hormone (ADH). The job of this hormone is to help us retain water before we dump it into our urine. Without this hormone you will notice you are using the bathroom more often and have a drier mouth.

Less volume means less blood flow and difficulty maintaining erections. Also for the females, alcohol is notorious for causing vaginal dryness.

Keep an Eye on your Prostate Health

The prostate is a walnut-sized gland located on top of the penis that secretes ejaculation and seminal fluid. As we age it does not stay the size of a walnut, it can increase in size causing problems by compressing on the blood vessels and urethra (main pipe) of the penis.

Those problems include difficulty urinating, pain with urination, erectile dysfunction, and difficulty reaching orgasm.

The good thing is that these symptoms happen slowly over time so the important thing is to regularly see your primary care physician for monitoring.

We have medications that can help to stop the prostate from growing bigger in size.

Christian Bramwell

Author BIO


Christian Bramwell, MD uses his own weight loss story as teaching for people struggling with their own weight through blogging, teaching, and writing. His mission in life is to promote health and education, that is why he has chosen to be a family physician and found his own nonprofit Project RAK based on education and empowerment.

NPI (Doctor proof number) 1336632918 NPI Number:

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