Erectile Dysfunction affects over 18 million men over the age of 20 in the United States. It is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection for a period of time. Erectile Dysfunction can be caused by both physical or psychological issues. Physical causes for ED can include heart disease, clogged blood vessels, obesity, tobacco use or low testosterone. Some psychological disorders that can lead to erectile dysfunction are anxiety, depression, relationship problems and stress. Because the brain plays such a key role in sexual arousal, stress can play a major role in causing erectile dysfunction.
Chronic stress can lead to a lower libido and overtime erectile dysfunction. Stress can be caused by many different things. Stress factors outside of sex could include things such as work, family or money related issues. It could also be directly related to stress surrounding sex like performance anxiety, lack of communication or low-self esteem in the bedroom. To mitigate stress and help prevent erectile dysfunction, try some of these recommendations.
Maintaining a healthy weight by working out and eating right is proven to lower cortisol levels (the stress hormone). Increasing physical movement and being mindful around what you are eating reduces stress and helps keep you healthy in the long term. Being overweight can predispose you to conditions that can lead to erectile dysfunction such as diabetes or high blood pressure. These conditions both affect blood flow to the penis.
To ensure bodily health, including penile health, it’s important to get the right amount of vitamins and minerals. Taking the appropriate amount of daily vitamins and minerals will help maintain proper testosterone levels and increase blood flow.
Smoking is sometimes used as a way to relieve stress. In reality, it is doing the opposite. Smoking actually increases tension and anxiety in the body making it harder to relax and feel less stressed. Going without a cigarette for a while causes a craving that can increase anxiety or irritability in a person, causing more stress. Smoking can also cause damage to the blood vessels which can lead you to develop erectile dysfunction. Cutting out smoking will increase blood flow, improve your mood and overall health.
Physical exercise has been shown to provide many health benefits including reducing the likelihood of erectile dysfunction. Exercise helps maintain proper blood circulation to the body, which includes the penis.
Therapy can help you break out of the anxiety loop or stress felt around ED. You can try meeting with a professional to identify and manage your stress factors. There is also sexual anxiety therapy where ED is explained in full detail. This can help take away some stress around the lack of knowledge about the condition. Then, you and your doctor can focus on clearing the emotional blockages that may be contributing to your ED. Other alternative forms of therapy can include techniques such as yoga, meditation, relaxation techniques or acupuncture.
Taking steps to reduce overall stress can help lower your risk of developing ED. Finding ways to lower stress in your life by quitting smoking, exercise regularly and going to therapy will all help prevent stress that can lead to erectile dysfunction.