How can erectile dysfunction be prevented?

Take a walk. Physical activity is one of the most powerful things you can do to prevent erectile dysfunction and lower your risk of prostate cancer.

Walking helps keep things working below the belt in a couple of ways. First, exercise can help prevent erectile dysfunction. Even if you're middle-aged and you've always been a couch potato, starting an exercise program can help prevent erectile dysfunction in your golden years. Already have issues with erectile dysfunction? Walking can help you lose weight, and research has found that if you're overweight or obese, losing 10% of your body weight can help improve sexual function.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

Men, and the women and men who love them, should be alert to erectile dysfunction (ED) because it may be a hidden cause of a life-threatening condition. Making modifications to your lifestyle might even reverse ED.

Here are some tips that can keep your penis up and running.

  • Stop smoking: Tobacco smoke can corrupt blood vessels and steal nitric oxide.
  • Know your numbers: Learn your blood pressure, cholesterol profile and sugar levels
  • Do a hormone check: Measure testosterone, prolactin and thyroid hormone levels
  • Assess medications: Some prescription and over-the-counter medications can cause ED. Find out if there is a substitute medication you can take instead.
  • Stay lean: When men have a big belly, they make more estrogen, which reduces testosterone. If an overweight man loses 35 lbs, he will see his penis gain an inch.
  • Get moving: ED is high among men who are sedentary and low among those who are active. Exercise also increases testosterone.
  • Do the stamp test: A way to tell if a man's ED is organic problem and not physiological, try wrapping a strip of overlapping stamps around the shaft of the penis before you go to sleep. Normal unconscious nighttime erections will bust the ring by morning.

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Eating a diet that's good for heart health is also good for a man's sexual health and can prevent erectile dysfunction. In this video, Erik Goluboff, MD, a urologist at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City, explains.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.