Though it may be both frustrating and embarrassing, suffering from erectile dysfunction is a common problem for men from a wide range of age groups. In a recent study of about 4,000 Canadian men between the ages of 40 and 88, almost half had issues of erectile dysfunction. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, up to 30 million American men are affected by erectile dysfunction.
Many think that the only treatment is prescription medication, like sildenafil (commonly known by the brand name Viagra). But these pills can be expensive, cause side effects and interfere with other medications.
Prescription drugs aren’t the only solution when it comes to issues of sexual health. There are natural approaches worth considering when faced with challenges in this area.
What is Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction, or ED, is the inability to get or keep an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse. It’s important to remember that having a problem every once in awhile does not mean you have ED. If the problem is an ongoing issue, it’s important to talk to your doctor, as it can sometimes be a sign of other health conditions that need treatment.
What Causes Erectile Dysfunction?
Though we may think of it being very simple, getting aroused is actually a complex process, involving both mental and physical aspects: the brain, hormones, emotions, nerves, muscles and blood vessels. Problems with any one of these can cause ED.
Physical causes that can contribute to Erectile Dysfunction include:
- Heart disease
- High cholesterol or blood pressure
- Smoking and alcohol use
- Certain prescription drugs (including those connected to chemotherapy)
Psychological causes that can contribute to Erectile Dysfunction include:
- Relationship problems (including breakdowns in communication)
- Other mental health conditions
In addition, there’s often a great deal of stress or anxiety that results from ED, which can make the condition worse.
How Does Physiotherapy Help Erectile Dysfunction?
In addition to answering questions about how diet and exercise may improve your ED, a physiotherapist can help you strengthen your pelvic floor muscles with simple exercises called Kegels. These exercises have urinary and sexual health benefits and are easy to perform. A recent study shows 73.5% of men with ED saw significant improvements, with 40% of that group recovering full normal function.
We have physiotherapists with advanced training in men’s pelvic floor physiotherapy. Find a clinic in your area and get your sexual health back on track.