Natural Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction: How Effective is it?

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Erectile dysfunction is quite common, with half of all men of all ages having experienced trouble getting or maintaining an erection at some time.

Erectile Dysfunction, commonly known as “ED,” is defined as “the persistent inability to achieve or maintain an erection that is satisfactory for sexual intercourse.” But there are varying “degrees” of ED.

You may be considered to have a form of ED if:

  • You can’t get an erection that is hard enough for satisfactory intercourse.
  • You lose your erection before you can complete the sexual act.
  • You cannot achieve an erection at all. This is known as “complete ED,” or the condition doctors used to call “impotence.”

In order to really understand ED and how it is best treated, it helps to understand how and why you get an erection in the first place.

how does erection occur

Let’s start with understanding the makeup of your penis. Your penis consists of three chambers.

There are two paired chambers on the top, which run the length of the shaft that are called the corpora cavernosa. The bottom chamber is called the corpora spongiosum, and it contains the urinary channel or the urethra. The chambers are each surrounded by an elastic membrane called the tunica albuginea.

The chambers inside the penis are filled with spongy tissue. Think of the holes or spaces in a common sponge. Before you are aroused the spaces are small and tight restricting blood flow into the erectile tissues.

But when you are sexually stimulated your brain releases nitric oxide into these spongy tissues. The nitrous oxide causes the holes to dilate or open wide, like a dam being opened, blood flows into the tissues causing them to expand and the result is the blood engorged erect penis.

After orgasm, the process is reversed. A different set of nerves releases epinephrine which makes the muscles contract, which opens channels for the blood to flow out, and restricts the inward blood flow.

As you can see, getting an erection involves a very specific sequence of events. Then, once erection occurs, it is maintained by a complex interplay between blood vessels and nerves, stimulated by sexual arousal and activity. That is why there can be many physical or emotional causes of ED.

Are There Natural Ways to Treat or Cure Erectile Dysfunction?

Drugs and other medical interventions are not the only ways to help you get over your erectile difficulties. There are a number of ways that you can treat ED naturally that can improve sexual performance, from making some general lifestyle and dietary changes to taking some specific vitamins and nutritional supplements.

  • losing weight can help treat edGet active – The act of sex itself is a kind of exercise, with the average sex act burning about 100 calories. But if you are having trouble performing due to ED, getting physical in other ways can help! Doing daily moderate to intense exercise for at least a half hour a day, four days a week, has been found to reduce the occurrence of ED.
  • Get enough sleep – Of course, lack of sleep can hinder sexual activity if you are too tired to perform, but beyond that, research has found that men with sleep apnea or other sleeping disorders are at greater risk for ED.
  • Lose weight – Obesity is a contributing factor to ED. Obesity lowers testosterone and increases the risk of diabetes. Both low testosterone and diabetes have been linked to ED. Being overweight can also lead to body image issues and other emotional difficulties that can influence your ability to get an erection. And finally, in the same way, that obesity can clog blood vessels leading to heart disease, it can have the same effect on blood flow to the vessels in the penis critical to getting an erection.
  • Reduce stress and anxiety – There is definitely an emotional or psychological aspect of ED. Taking measures to reduce stress and anxiety, perhaps even getting some mental counseling, can help with emotional issues that could be contributing to your ED.
  • Reduce alcohol consumption – While one or two drinks might help you and your partner get in the mood, chronic alcohol abuse can cause ED.
  • Quit smoking – Another good reason to give up cigarettes is that tobacco is known to have a negative impact on blood flow and the health of blood vessels, which can also contribute to ED.

Dietary Changes and Nutritional Supplements that Could Help With ED

There are foods that are good and foods that are bad for sexual function. Avoid sugary sweets and snacks, highly processed foods, or an excess amount of protein from animal fat.

Beets have an innate ability to stimulate the release of nitric oxide, for that reason they are often referred to as a kind of “natural Viagra.” But like the real Viagra itself, beet juice is not recommended for men who are taking nitrates for heart disease.

Other foods that have been known to have a positive effect on male performance include:

  • Cruciferous vegetables
  • Tart cherries
  • Almonds
  • Avocados
  • Oysters – yes, what you always heard is true!
  • Figs
  • Dark chocolate

There are also beverages that should definitely be avoided as far as sexual performance is concerned.

  • drinking soda can make ed worseSoda – Soda – both regular and diet – is generally bad for your health. It also can be a major mood killer. Avoid soda, particularly diet soda. Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame are known to cause headaches and lower libido.
  • Gin and Tonic – This popular cocktail should be avoided, particularly by men. One, for the alcohol, but more importantly, the “tonic” in gin and tonic contains quinine, which is known to reduce testosterone.
  • Caffeinated beverages – a little caffeine can be a stimulant, but like alcohol, too much caffeine can let you down. As a stimulant, too much caffeine can increase anxiety, which can lead to performance issues.
  • Soy Milk – Men, in particular, should avoid drinking soy milk or any products with soy. Studies have found an association between consumption of soy with lower sperm counts, decreased semen production, and erectile dysfunction.

Are There Any Herbs and Nutritional Supplements That Can Help With ED?

Natural “male enhancement” supplements are a multi-billion dollar business. Most of the claims made about these products being able to cure ED are exaggerated at best. There are some herbal supplements and vitamins that research shows have a limited ability to help get and maintain an erection, such as:

  • Panax Ginseng – Panax Ginseng has been called the “herbal Viagra.” Also known as Red Ginseng, there is research that backs up the claims that this supplement can improve your ability to get an erection.
  • DHEA – The respected Massachusetts male aging trial found that men with ED were more likely to have low levels of DHEA, a hormone produced by the adrenal glands. The Massachusetts trial and others since have found that men receiving DHEA in a daily natural supplement made from yams “were more likely to achieve and maintain an erection.
  • L-arginine – L-arginine is an amino acid. It helps make nitric oxide. Nitric oxide relaxes blood vessels to facilitate a successful erection and is essential for healthy sexual functioning.
  • Yohimbe – Yohimbe is a dietary supplement made from tree bark. It has been used for decades as an aphrodisiac in Africa. A number of clinical trials have shown that the primary component of Yohimbe can improve sexual dysfunction.

Are There Hormone Therapies That Can Help ED?

There are two hormones that are most related to sexual performance in men. These are testosterone and human growth hormone or HGH. Unfortunately, these are also the very two hormones that drop in level as a man ages.

However, hormone replacement therapy in men dealing with age-related hormone loss has been shown to improve erectile function.

Neither testosterone replacement nor growth hormone therapy are prescribed strictly as a treatment for ED. However, in men facing the many issues of age-related hormone loss for whom they have been prescribed, one of the many benefits reported is increased sex drive and an improved ability to get and maintain an erection.

What Are Some Other Ways to Treat Erectile Dysfunction?

what are other ways to treat erectile dysfunctionThere was a time when the only way to treat erectile dysfunction was with surgery. In those days, the only alternative or “non-surgical” treatment were penis pumps. Penis pumps are still around, but we are now in a kind of a golden age of ED treatments where there are more options of treatments now than ever before.

The introduction of Viagra and related drugs virtually eliminated the need for surgery in all but the most extreme cases of ED. However, as effective as these oral ED medications are, they are not for everybody. Many men cannot take these drugs, some men have side effects, and then there are the men that simply do not like the idea of having to take a drug to get hard.

This has created a demand for other “all-natural” or drug-free/surgery free-ways to treat ED, and fortunately, medical science has answered the call. There are now several medical options to treat men with ED that do not involve the use of drugs or invasive surgery at all.

The two most popular of these are the P-shot and Acoustic Wave Therapy.

The P-shot uses the growth and healing factors in your own blood to help you get and maintain an erection. The secret is something known as platelet-rich plasma, or PRP. PRP is made from your own blood, so there are few, if any, side effects. The PRP is injected directly into the penis. Numbing cream is used, so the injection has little or no pain. As soon as the PRP is injected, it goes right to work, opening clogged blood vessels and improving blood flow to the penis. Results are almost immediate and can work for months.

Acoustic Wave Therapy(AWT), sometimes called “pulsed wave therapy,” is one of the latest breakthroughs in non-surgical treatments for ED. It is often used in conjunction with the P-shot. In AWT, a wand is applied to the penis that produces mild acoustical shockwaves to break up plaque deposits in the blood vessels, improving blood flow to the penis. AWT has also been shown to heal damaged blood vessels and stimulate “revascularization” or the formation of new blood vessels. In clinical trials, AWT has proven to be very effective in treating ED, with many patients being able to go home and perform the very night of getting treated.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Treatments for ED

What is the fastest way to cure ED?

With a condition like ED, doctors do not like to use the word “cure,” but the fastest way to “treat” ED is with Viagra and the other oral ED medications that are currently available. However, these drugs are not for everyone. In fact, they are not recommended for men with high blood pressure, heart disease, or diabetes – the very population of men that is more likely to suffer from ED!

However, the good news is there are many alternative treatments for ED today, such as the P-shot, wave therapy, and hormone therapy, that are just as effective or even more effective in treating ED as Viagra and the other PDE5 inhibitors. And, since these treatments actually do address the root cause of ED – poor blood flow – they can actually be said to “cure” ED rather than simply treat it!

How many days will it take to cure erectile dysfunction?

Oral ED medications provide immediate results but are not a cure; you need to take them every time you have sex. If your ED is found to be caused by hormonal imbalances such as low testosterone or low HGH, it can possibly be cured with hormone replacement, but that will take months. Making some of the dietary and lifestyle changes mentioned on these pages could help improve sexual function, but it will take weeks or months before they make a significant difference.

Are there any risks of treating ED naturally?

Generally speaking, natural treatments for ED are safe; the only real risk is in them not working, and you then requiring actual medical treatment such as hormone replacement or prescription medication.

Some of the natural methods of treating ED mentioned on these pages, such as the P-shot and wave therapy, have been proven to be quite effective and have few if any side effects.

How long does it take for HGH to treat erectile dysfunction?

Research has shown that growth hormone injection do improve sexual function. HGH replacement therapy is usually prescribed over the course of six months. If it was indeed determined that your ED is the result of age-related growth hormone deficiency, you can expect your ED to be vastly improved by the end of your six-program. However, most men on growth hormone therapy see improvements in sex drive and sexual performance during the first few months of treatment.