A Holistic Approach: Combining Lifestyle Changes and Medications for Effective Erectile Dysfunction Management

A Holistic Approach: Combining Lifestyle Changes and Medications for Effective Erectile Dysfunction Management

ED may be brought on by a variety of factors. For most men, the underlying reason is nuanced. Vascular illness, neurological disease, diabetes, and therapies and operations involving the prostate may all lead to erectile dysfunction. Many individuals prefer pharmaceutical therapy. However, one may improve both health and sex life by taking a more holistic approach, combining meds and lifestyle changes. Read on to learn more tips to get rid of ED symptoms and enjoy life to the fullest.

Diet

Aphrodisiacs have been sought after since antiquity in an effort to increase desire and enhance sexual performance. Some dietary changes may improve vascular and overall health and, by extension, erectile performance. Let's consider examples of such products in more detail.

Product name

Effect

Nitrate-rich foods (beets, leafy greens, etc.)

Improve nitric oxide production, and normalize endothelial function and blood pressure. 

Pomegranate (fruit, juice)

Enhances endothelial function and reduces blood pressure.

Extra virgin olive oil, healthy grains, and vegetables

Reduce inflammation and postpone sexual dysfunction in men with diabetes.

Foods rich in vitamin D (fish, milk, avocado, etc.)

Has beneficial effects on the immune system, cardiovascular system, and endothelial cell function.

All the effects described in the table are closely correlated with improved erections. It also should be mentioned that men who adhered more closely to the Mediterranean diet had a lower chance of developing erectile dysfunction, according to a reliable study. They cut down on red and processed meat and instead focused on eating more of the following foods:

  • fruits;

  • vegetables;

  • legumes;

  • nuts;

  • fish.

These meals are beneficial for men’s general health. And helping to maintain or enhance sexual performance is an excellent bonus.

What foods to avoid? Bacon, fast food burgers, hot dogs, cheese, pizza, and fried meals - all have high levels of advanced glycation end products, which have been linked to diabetes, heart disease, and erectile dysfunction.

Physical Activity

Exercising may help prevent or alleviate erectile dysfunction. If your ED is exacerbated by factors like being overweight, not getting enough exercise, or having a cardiovascular disease, regular workouts may help. Choose a sport according to your preferences. It can be running, bicycling, swimming, or just walking.

Regular exercise is crucial for men trying to keep or regain their erections. Men might get extra advantages from pelvic floor workouts since they focus on strengthening key muscles involved in maintaining an erection.

Muscles that make up the pelvic floor have three main purposes:

  • providing support for the abdominal structures; 

  • coordinating the contraction of the anal and urinary sphincters; 

  • facilitating erection and ejaculatory function.

In particular, the bulbospongiosus and ischiocavernosus muscles are credited with facilitating erections. When the ischiocavernosus muscle contracts, the corpora cavernosa experiences a large increase in suprasystolic pressure. This is the foundation for a well-developed erection. The success of these muscles in maintaining an erection is directly proportional to their strength and coordination. Both iatrogenic and venous leakage erectile dysfunction benefit from pelvic floor (Kegel) exercises.

Avoiding and Reducing Stress

The mental, physical, and emotional impacts of stress are widely known. Anxiety brought on by extreme stress puts your body and mind into tense mode, both contributing to erectile dysfunction. The stress response may significantly impact the capacity to acquire and keep an erection since some hormones are inhibited while others are raised (mostly cortisol).

Also, an erection begins in an individual's head. And as we know, stress may have a negative impact on mental and emotional health. Considering this, it's crucial to look for means of lowering stress. It may be as easy as going for a walk, skipping out on the news, or even just taking some deep breaths.

Quality Sleep 

Getting a good night's sleep every night is crucial to a man’s health. Men who work night shifts and have sleep quality issues are more likely to develop erectile dysfunction. People with sleep disorders also have an increased chance of having ED. Low testosterone levels, which may result from insufficient sleep, have been linked to erectile dysfunction. Conditions connected to ED, including diabetes and high blood pressure, are also linked to long-term sleep deprivation. 

Reduced sexual pleasure, poor desire, and erectile dysfunction may lead to cardiovascular or coronary illnesses, obesity, and diabetes, all connected with long-term sleep disturbances. In fact, physicians often check about sleep while giving medical treatment for erectile dysfunction, particularly given the prevalence of undetected sleep problems. So it's crucial to have enough sleep and take proper steps to treat sleep issues if they exist.

Rejection of Bad Habits

Moderate alcohol use is related to a reduced risk of ED. At the same time, ED and other forms of sexual dysfunction are widespread among those with alcohol dependency. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends men limit their alcohol consumption to no more than two drinks per day to improve erections.

One more habit that probably helps bring on ED is smoking. A possible explanation is that smoking reduces blood flow to the penis. The automatic muscular relaxation and increased blood flow that contribute to erections need nitric oxide, which may also be depleted by smoking. It's not easy, but there are many tools out there to help a man kick bad habits for good. Quitting smoking and drinking alcohol may improve erectile dysfunction and other health issues.

Effective Meds: PDE-5 Inhibitors

The most reliable and widely accessible treatment options for erectile dysfunction are PDE-5 inhibitors. They all serve the same purpose, which is to boost circulation to the genitals during sexual activity. Viagra (Sildenafil), Cialis (Tadalafil), Stendra (Avanafil), and Levitra (Vardenafil) are all active ingredients of medications authorized by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA, however, has relegated Levitra to the "Discontinued Drug Product List" section of the Orange Book in 2020. Drugs were pulled off shelves for reasons that had nothing to do with their quality as medicine. This also means that you may find many medications that contain the same active ingredient.

Medication Intake Instructions

Use of ED medications may be short- or long-term, depending on the drug and the patient's overall health. If necessary, take your medication at the same time each day. The amount of the active ingredient in your bloodstream shouldn't change. However, you should only do this if your physician recommends it.

The following guidelines may be used with any PDE-5 inhibitor:

  • Drugs are often used one hour before sexual activity. 

  • Depending on one's biochemistry, the beginning of the tablets' effects may be slowed down or sped up.

  • Take a pill with a glass of water. Avoid anything that contains grapefruit. Consumption of any product that contains grapefruit may counteract the effects of drug use.

  • Crushing tablets is not recommended. Otherwise, the medicine may not work.

  • Regardless of age or size, everyone should take one tablet at a time. In other way you might experience overdose and unwanted effects.

Drug Dosage for PDE-5 Inhibitors

Each medicine has its own suggested dosage.

  • Daily Viagra doses may range from 25 mg to 100 mg.

  • It is recommended to take 5 mg of Cialis once a day. Dosages of 10–20 mg are available for use on demand.

  • Most men may begin using Levitra successfully at a dose of 10 mg. Modify the dosage to 20mg or 5mg as needed.

  • Stendra starting dose is 100 mg. This medicine may be taken orally up to 15 minutes before engaging in sexual activity.

It's essential to take Viagra, Stendra, Cialis, or Levitra exactly as prescribed. Never deviate from your doctor's instructions or the suggestions in your medication information leaflet.

PDE-5 Inhibitors and Their Effects

The signaling molecule cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) plays a crucial role in achieving and maintaining an erection. A particular enzyme called PDE degrades it internally. The corpus cavernosum of the penis is the only human tissue known to have PDE-5, an isoform of phosphodiesterase. Phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE-5) inhibitors decrease cGMP breakdown, greatly enhancing erection quality. However, PDE-5 meds are not magic pills. There should be a natural sexual excitement for them to work. The meds’ result is generated exclusively in the presence of sexual stimulation. PDE-5 inhibitor's side effects are often moderate and don't affect patients much.

Conclusion

Lifestyle changes play a significant role in the therapy of erectile dysfunction. Improvements in erectile performance appear due to healthy habits, including greater physical activity, balanced nutrition, and a good night's sleep. All these factors enhance the effects of PDE-5 inhibitors. A complex approach to treatment increases the chances for successful results and recovery. Compliance is the most challenging aspect of this therapy over the long run. Patients are more likely to maintain lifestyle modifications when they have a firm grasp of the rationale for the treatment and find it simple to put into practice. That's why a doctor's guidance is essential. 

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