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Erectile Dysfunction

| April 2, 2021, 11:45 CDT

11 Non-Pharmaceutical Ways to Improve Erectile Dysfunction

About 40 percent of men in their 40s suffer from ED, but drug-free solutions are within reach.
Erin Coleman

Written by

Erin Coleman
Chris Kyle

Reviewed by

Chris Kyle, M.D.

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You don't have to take medications or undergo invasive surgical procedures to get a firm erection. Consider the following methods to noninvasively improve erectile dysfunction and restore your sex life.

Testosterone therapy

Erectile dysfunction is often caused by low testosterone, a common condition in men older than 40. Your doctor can determine whether you have low testosterone with a simple blood test and may suggest injections, pellets, patches or gels to keep your hormones within a normal, healthy range.

Weight management

Because obesity is an ED risk factor, maintaining a healthy weight—or losing weight if needed—is an excellent way to improve erectile dysfunction. Eat a well-balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, consume a variety of high-protein foods and choose heart-healthy fats.

Testosterone-boosting supplements

Supplements such as vitamin D, ashwagandha, D-aspartic acid, fenugreek and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) have, in mostly anecdotal cases, increased the body's natural testosterone levels and lowered the risk of sexual dysfunction. Other beneficial supplements that may increase your body's natural testosterone production include L-arginine, ginseng and propionyl-L-carnitine. Always check with your doctor before taking new dietary supplements, and keep in mind that most supplements are not tested, approved or regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

Regular exercise

Studies show that routine moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise can improve erectile dysfunction. Even if you engage in low-intensity exercise, it's better than none at all. If you suffer from ED, any level of increased physical activity can help you achieve stronger, firmer erections.

Stress-reduction techniques

Stress is an ED risk factor, which is why stress-reduction techniques such as tai chi, meditation or yoga may help you perform better in the bedroom. Make your schedule less busy, take a mental day off from work, spend time outdoors or go on a much-needed vacation.

Substance-abuse treatments

If you struggle with excessive alcohol intake, illicit drugs, opioid addiction, smoking or other tobacco products, ask your doctor about substance-abuse treatments or programs. Options include medications, patches or gums, or counseling or group therapy to break addictive habits linked with erectile dysfunction.

Mental health treatments

Depression, anxiety and other mental health disorders are risk factors for erectile dysfunction. If you struggle with conditions that negatively affect your mood and bedroom performance, consider seeking counseling, taking medications or undergoing transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). A holistic, noninvasive, painless treatment for depression, TMS uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in your brain responsible for mood.

Wearable devices

Another option is to use a wearable device, like a vacuum pump that pulls blood into the penis, or a constriction device such as Eddie by Giddy, designed to treat ED by constricting the veins in the penis, but not the arteries or urethra, to optimize blood flow and help maintain erections.

Regular sexual intercourse

Believe it or not, having sex regularly can reduce your ED risk. Studies show that men ages 30 to 75 who have intercourse once a week have lower rates of sexual dysfunction than men who engage in sexual activity less often. Having sex two to three times weekly (or more often) may further decrease your risk of erectile dysfunction.

Shockwave therapy

Though not a widely researched treatment, applying mild shockwaves to the penis can stimulate blood flow and encourage new blood vessel growth. During treatment, which doesn't require anesthesia, your doctor applies a handheld device to your penis to deliver painless shockwaves to targeted tissues. The procedure lasts about 15 minutes, and you may need a series of weekly treatments.

P-Shot

The P-Shot, also known as the Priapus Shot, is a natural treatment for erectile dysfunction, though not considered a "mainstream" approach. It uses platelet-rich plasma (PRP) sourced from your own blood to stimulate blood flow, repair cells and tissues, and create new neural pathways. Your doctor will numb your penis and inject PRP. You may need multiple injections over time to achieve the best outcome.

As always, consult your doctor about your erectile dysfunction to find the best path forward.

Erin Coleman

Written by

Erin Coleman
Chris Kyle

Reviewed by

Chris Kyle, M.D.

erectile dysfunction
low-t
nitric oxide
diet
exercise
nutrition
stress
cardio
hormone treatments
supplements