Self-management

Lifestyle and home remedies

For many men, erectile dysfunction is caused or worsened by lifestyle choices. Here are some steps 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 a 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 counseling if you're having trouble improving communication with your partner or working through problems on your own

Coping and support

Whether the cause is physical, psychological or a combination of both, erectile dysfunction can become a source of mental and emotional stress for you and your partner. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Don't assume you have a long-term problem. Don't view occasional erection problems as a reflection on your health or masculinity, and don't automatically expect to have erection trouble again during your next sexual encounter. This can cause anxiety, which might make erectile dysfunction worse.
  • Involve your sexual partner. Your partner might see your inability to have an erection as a sign of diminished sexual interest. Your reassurance that this isn't the case can help. Communicate openly and honestly about your condition. Treatment is often more successful when a man involves his partner.
  • Don't ignore stress, anxiety or other mental health concerns. Talk to your doctor or consult a mental health provider to address these issues.

Prevention

The best way to prevent erectile dysfunction is to make healthy lifestyle choices and to manage any existing health conditions. For example:

  • Work with your doctor to manage diabetes, heart disease or other chronic health conditions.
  • See your doctor for regular checkups and medical screening tests.
  • Stop smoking, limit or avoid alcohol, and don't use illegal drugs.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Take steps to reduce stress.
  • Get help for anxiety, depression or other mental health concerns.
April 21, 2017
References
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