Here’s how you can manage erectile dysfunction

Dr D Narayana Reddy, a Consultant – Sexual Medicine, Apollo Hospitals, Chennai, shares how men can manage there Erectile Dysfunction, and lead a normal life.

If you have been diagnosed with erectile dysfunction recently, do not despair. Erectile dysfunction (ED) affects up to one-third of men at some point in their life. The thing to remember is, depending on the age, at which you experience ED, you will be advised either a change in certain lifestyle habits or both medication and lifestyle changes. Here are some situations that can give you ED, and a few things you can do under these circumstances to improve ED management.

Stress can interfere with an erection 

Most men find it difficult to get an erection when they are stressed, tired, or emotionally disturbed. My advice is to try and not have sex at such times, wait for a happier, and more relaxed time. Discuss your moods and concerns with your partner, so that you are on the same page when it comes to being intimate.

Good diet and daily exercise will always help 

Research shows that moderate exercise – such as brisk walking for 30 minutes a day – can help restore sexual performance in young, and middle-aged men with ED. When it comes to diet, foods that improve ED management include fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains (oatmeal, brown rice), dried fruit, lean meat, and fish. Reduce intake of processed and junk food (pastries, pizzas, colas), and refined grains (white flour, white bread).

Many medicines prescribed for ED do not work effectively with high-fat diets. So, keep in mind, when on ED medication, take conscious steps to reduce fat intake for symptom improvement.

Where and how you sit could affect your ED

It may come as a surprise to many, but how you sit at work could affect your ED. The genital area is particularly sensitive to changes in temperature, compared to the rest of the body. Sitting in a narrow, uncomfortable chair for long can generate heat and negatively affect the genitals. It would also apply to clothes (trousers and underpants) that are too tight, so choose comfortable clothing whenever possible. Take a break to walk around for five minutes every hour throughout the day, as this improves blood circulation throughout the body.

Involve your partner in addressing your ED 

Since ED affects both you and your partner, involve her in every step of your treatment. Open communication is helpful, so share information about your symptoms, mood, and medication regularly. Do not hesitate to consult a relationship expert or counselor together, if you and your partner feel the need for unbiased, external guidance during this period.

There’s a linkage between ED and certain chronic medical conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The more particular you are in controlling these conditions, the less the risk of ED, particularly at an advanced age. Keeping your blood pressure and blood sugar well regulated and under control, ensure better heart and nerve health, both of which are crucial for healthy erections and satisfying sex life. Other lifestyle changes that reduce ED symptoms include limiting alcohol intake, quitting smoking, and reducing abdominal obesity. These healthy lifestyle choices will not only improve ED management but also reduce your risk of other diseases. If you are struggling to make these changes on your own, consult a nutritionist or dietician, who will help you manage ED and other health conditions.