Can lifestyle choices help improve erectile dysfunction?

Answers from Carl F. Anderson, M.D.

For many men, erectile dysfunction is caused or worsened by lifestyle choices. Here are some things that might help:

  • If you smoke, quit. If you have trouble quitting, get help. Try nicotine replacement, such as over-the-counter gum or lozenges, or ask your doctor about prescription medication that can help you quit.
  • Lose excess pounds. Being overweight can cause — or worsen — erectile dysfunction.
  • Include physical activity in your daily routine. Exercise can help with underlying conditions that play a part in erectile dysfunction in a number of ways, including reducing stress, helping you lose weight and increasing blood flow.
  • Get treatment for alcohol or drug problems. Drinking too much or taking certain illegal drugs can worsen erectile dysfunction directly or by causing long-term health problems.
  • Work through relationship issues. Consider couples or marriage counseling if you're having trouble improving communication with your partner or working through problems on your own.
Apr. 24, 2014 See more Expert Answers