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Could lifestyle changes, like diet and exercise, help my ED?

Madeleine M. Castellanos, MD
Psychiatry
Staying healthy won't necessarily cure erectile dysfunction (ED), but it can help treat and prevent the conditions that cause ED or make it worse. You may be able to improve your erections by taking good care of yourself.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

When I tell my patients that the lifestyle changes I want them to make to improve heart health and prevent cancer can also boost their sex lives, I find they're far more motivated to eat right and exercise. They're also surprised. Most don't know that having a high body mass index (BMI), a measure of body fat, can damage the blood vessels everywhere in their bodies, including the penis.

To get and maintain an erection, you need unimpeded blood flow to the penis and that's not going to happen if you have blockages or your vessels are squeezed by pounding high blood pressure. Being overweight can also reduce the male hormone testosterone, which is what puts you "in the mood" in the first place. Exercise can boost your natural nitric oxide, the chemical that causes vessels in the penis to relax so it can engorge with blood. If younger sedentary men walked at least 2 miles a day they can seriously reduce their risk of developing erectile dysfunction in midlife. And let's not forget that exercise can also improve stamina and that is always a good thing in the bedroom.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is often caused by lifestyle choices, but may also be a sign of a health problem. Smoking, excessive drinking, being overweight or obesity, and lack of exercise are all associated with ED. These lifestyle factors may also raise your risk for cardiovascular (heart and vessel) disease, nerve damage, diabetes, endocrine (hormonal) disorders or high blood pressure, all of which cause ED. For this reason, lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, exercising more, drinking less alcohol, and quitting smoking can help improve your health over all as well as your ability to get and maintain an erection.

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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.