Indoor Fitness

If you frequently have problems getting or keeping an erection, you may have erectile dysfunction (ED). This common problem affects about 30 million men in the U.S.

How Do I Know if I Need ED Meds?

There is a wide range of treatment options for ED. Doctors often recommend oral medication like Viagra or Cialis. Other treatments include vacuum pumps, injections, and penile implants.

But there are also natural treatments for ED. Some are simple lifestyle changes, while others involve supplements and alternative medicine.

Here are 5 natural treatments for erectile dysfunction:

1. Alternative Medicine

Some herbal and other natural remedies may improve ED.

Always check with your doctor before starting any new regime. Some vitamin and mineral supplements have side effects or may interact with medications you take.

Natural treatments for erectile dysfunction

Some popular over-the-counter supplements are:

  • Ginkgo. This extract from the ginkgo tree may increase blood flow to the penis.
  • Ginseng. Chemicals in this plant help relax the body’s smooth muscles, which may help produce erections.
  • L-arginine. This amino acid is a vasodilator, meaning it can help open up blood vessels and may increase blood flow to the penis.
  • Pomegranate juice. The antioxidants in pomegranate juice may combat atherosclerosis, or narrowing of the arteries. Narrow arteries restrict blood flow to the penis and can cause ED.

Natural therapies to improve ED

Some men incorporate various holistic practices into their ED treatment. Because these therapies can improve your overall well-being, they may improve your sexual health as well.

Those therapies include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Massage
  • Yoga

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2. Pelvic Floor Exercises

People often associate pelvic floor exercises (Kegels) with women, but men can benefit too. Strengthening the pelvic floor can give you stronger erections.

You can do these simple movements anywhere, anytime. To perform pelvic floor exercises:

  • Squeeze your pelvic muscles for 3 seconds, as if stopping the flow of urine. Then, relax for 3 seconds.
  • Try to do 10 to 15 repetitions. Repeat 3 times each day.
  • Add 1 second to each repetition each week until you work up to 10 seconds at a time.
  • Be patient. It may take several weeks to notice your pelvic muscles getting stronger.

3. Healthier Eating Habits

Men with ED are often overweight and have high blood pressure. ED goes hand-in-hand with related diseases like heart disease and diabetes. In fact, ED is often the first warning sign of those chronic diseases.

Making simple changes in your diet can help you lose weight, lower blood pressure, and have firmer erections. Here are some to try:

  • Cut down on processed foods.
  • Drink more water.
  • Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Swap white rice and flour for whole grain versions.
  • Replace fatty meats for lean protein like chicken and fish.

4. Exercise Programs

Exercise increases blood flow to all parts of the body (including the penis), so it can help with ED.

Any workout that gets your heart rate going is fine. Biking, jogging, and swimming are terrific options. Even walking 30 minutes a day can lower blood pressure, help you lose weight, and improve your ED.

5. Quitting Smoking, Limiting Alcohol

Men who smoke tobacco and drink too much alcohol are more likely to have ED.

  • Alcohol depresses the central nervous system. That includes the nerves to the penis, causing both short-term and chronic ED. Over time, heavy alcohol use damages your liver and other organs, causing everything in the body to work less efficiently.
  • Smoking cigarettes can also lead to chronic ED. Smoking can narrow the blood vessels in the penis, making it more difficult to get an erection. If you smoke, talk to your doctor about finding ways to quit.

If natural treatments for erectile dysfunction don’t help, ask your doctor about next steps. It may be time for ED medication.

About UPMC

Headquartered in Pittsburgh, UPMC is a world-renowned health care provider and insurer. We operate 40 hospitals and 700 doctors’ offices and outpatient centers, with locations in central and western Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, and internationally. We employ 4,900 physicians, and we are leaders in clinical care, groundbreaking research, and treatment breakthroughs. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside as one of the nation’s best hospitals in many specialties and ranks UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh on its Honor Roll of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals.