It’s normal to experience sexual off days from time to time. What’s not normal is a persistent inability to attain and maintain an erection. This condition is known as erectile dysfunction, or ED for short.
There are multiple reasons why men experience ED. This is because the process of getting an erection is a multifactorial event that involves many different functions.
If any one of these parts isn’t working properly, it can lead to malfunctions in the erection’s ability to get hard. This is why it’s crucial to get to the bottom of your health concerns as soon as possible.
If you’re struggling with sexual dysfunction, let’s touch on what ED is and a few surprising risk factors that may be affecting your sexual ability in the bedroom.
What is Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction, also known as impotence, is the persistent incapability to achieve or maintain an erection suitable for sexual activity.
Three criteria must be met for a person to be diagnosed with erectile dysfunction:
- Trouble getting an erection
- Trouble keeping an erection to achieve penetrative sex
- Diminished sexual desire
Affecting over 150 million men around the world, ED is caused by various factors that often stem from aging. The treatment for ED is also dependent on the cause of ED.
In the past, ED was assumed to be a psychological problem in men. However, recent studies have also established that ED can be attributed to physical issues, particularly those involving blood flow to the penis.
Before opting for any treatment, consult a local erectile dysfunction doctor. Their medically-conducted evaluation can help you find the right treatment plan for your case.
Risk Factors for Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction is not only a standalone sexual health condition, it’s also a precursor of underlying health issues.
According to a published article by StatPearls Publishing, erectile dysfunction may potentially lead to other health conditions, such as:
- Coronary heart disease
- Cardiovascular disease
- Neurogenic disorders
- Sleep disorders
- Prostate cancer
Given how sexual function problems can lead to other health complications, it’s crucial to be aware of the risk factors for erectile dysfunction.
It may be mortifying to speak to your doctor or your partner about your erectile dysfunction. But it is necessary if you want to have healthy sexual intercourse in the future.
Here are some surprising risk factors that you probably didn’t know about:
1. A Salt-Filled Diet
Too much salt in your body can cause your blood pressure and cholesterol levels to spike. This is bad as it can directly influence the body’s ability to get an erection.
High blood pressure and cholesterol, more specifically, restrict blood flow to the penis, making it difficult to get a hard-on.
Furthermore, a high salt intake also diminishes erectile function by disrupting the mineralocorticoid receptor’s ability to regulate blood pressure adequately, according to a recently published study.
2. Cycling or Biking
Everyone is aware of the health benefits of cycling. But did you know that too much cycling can also impair your capacity for sexual activity?
Prolonged cycling without changing your position on the saddle can desensitize and cause damage to the nerves in your pelvic region. If you notice that your groin region gets numb after a long ride, reduce the number of miles you cycle every week.
According to a study, cycling more than 3 hours per week increases the risk of moderate to severe erectile dysfunction. However, this shouldn’t dissuade you from working up a sweat, as obesity and a sedentary lifestyle can also be harmful to your sexual health.
Consult your physician for a more personalized evaluation.
Everyone experiences stress, but how you respond to it can dictate how intensely it affects your life.
If you’re experiencing chronic stress, you can develop erectile dysfunction over time. Managing your stress such as by performing deep breathing exercises and doing yoga can help soothe your worries.
Performance anxiety related to your ability in bed can also prove to be a hurdle in your path to a happy sexual life.
If you’re anxious about your sexual prowess, ED may be an unwanted consequence of your psychological state. Be open and honest with your partner about your concerns to ease up the tension.
5. Hair Loss Medications
Hair loss is another problem that men face as they age. That said, don’t just grab a hair loss medication on the aisle and call it a day.
If you are relying on medications like Propecia and Avodart, then be wary, as they may increase your risk of developing erectile dysfunction.
Hair loss medicines reduce the amount of dihydrotestosterone in your blood, which can reduce your testosterone levels. Low testosterone can influence your sexual health, so contact your healthcare practitioner for more information about the medications you take.
6. Bad Oral Hygiene
Do you floss and brush your teeth regularly? If not, you might be putting your sexual health at risk.
According to research, men with chronic periodontitis—a condition that inflames the gums and teeth—are more at risk for erectile dysfunction.
Periodontitis causes oral inflammation, which affects the production of nitric acid and, consequently, the healthy circulation of blood in the body.
7. Canned Foods
Canned foods may make cooking easier, but it also increases your risk of erectile dysfunction. Cans that carry your food are typically lined with a material containing bisphenol-A (BPA).
BPA can interfere with your hormones by inhibiting sex hormones in men. If you’re able, stick with fresh foods such as fatty fish and fresh fruit and vegetables.
Treatment Options for Erectile Dysfunction
Normal erectile function can be restored with traditional ED treatments, including:
- ED drugs: Although riddled with side effects, drugs like Viagra, Levitra, and Stendra help you get erect temporarily. These pills typically do not treat the underlying causes of dysfunction and instead mask common ED symptoms.
- ED therapy: Topical gels, creams, and injections are used to stimulate an erection in men suffering from ED.
- Penile implants: Implants in your penis can be used to get erect when required
- Acoustic wave therapy: Creating new blood vessels with the help of shockwave therapy can increase blood flow to your penis
Other than these treatments, keeping yourself fit, eating a healthy diet, and avoiding bad habits like vaping and alcohol abuse can also greatly reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction.
Regain Your Sexual Vitality with Medical Guidance from Atlanta’s Top ED Clinic
Sexual problems may strike you without warning. As such, it’s important to reconsider the habits and routine choices you make in your daily life to prevent sexual problems from happening in the future.
While some risk factors for erectile dysfunction are out of your control, such as age and family history, others, like obesity and stress, can be managed.
If you’re struggling with ED, don’t hesitate to consult a physician for help. Speaking out will help you get the support and treatment options that you need to counter erectile dysfunction.
You can overcome sexual health conditions with various other methods and men’s health treatments recommended by health practitioners at Atlanta’s Priority Men’s Medical Center. This includes ED therapy, acoustic wave therapy, testosterone treatment, and adrenal fatigue treatment. Don’t miss out on any opportunities you can find to get the proper treatment and achieve a happy and fulfilling sex life.