Erectile dysfunction, or ED, also goes by the name "impotence." This is a condition where a male cannot achieve or maintain an erection long enough to have sex. According to the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse, approximately 15 to 30 million American men suffer from erectile dysfunction. This can take a toll on a man's self confidence and self esteem and can harm a relationship. But there are ways to reverse this problem, both conventional and relatively new.
See your doctor. Your doctor will ask some questions and run some tests, including a urinalysis and blood test to check for diabetes. During the process he will decide if you are a candidate for a prescription drug that can promote erections. Widely prescribed ones include Viagra, Levitra and Cialis.
Quit smoking. In order to achieve an erection, you must have good blood pressure and circulation to the penis. Smoking is not only bad for the lungs, but it also robs the body of oxygen which decreases circulation and could cause erectile dysfunction. Excessive use of alcohol and recreational drugs can also cause ED and should be avoided as well.
Increase physical activity. Being sedentary and overweight can impact your erections. It can cause high blood pressure, lower testosterone levels and cause poor circulation. To reverse this, try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week. Some good exercises are cycling, jogging, stair stepping, swimming and brisk walking.
Draw blood into your penis. A penis pump is a hollow tube-shaped apparatus that goes around the penis. A seal is made at the base and air is then sucked out of the tube to create a partial vacuum. This draws blood into the penis, which leads to an erection. A tension ring is placed at the base of the penis to maintain the erection and is removed after sex.
Unclog a blockage. Often, erectile dysfunction results from an injury to the pelvic region or from a vascular disease. If one of these is the cause, a lack of blood flow to the penis makes an erection difficult to achieve. Surgery may repair the damage.
Try an alternative. Various alternative approaches can treat erectile dysfunction. These include acupuncture, ginkgo, L-arginine and a testosterone-boosting hormone called DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone). But according to the Mayo Clinic, these approaches should be used with caution as their safety has not been proven.