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Exercises and Natural Treatments to Improve ED

Tuesday 24 March 2020
Erectile Dysfunction

Table of Contents


I. Overview

II. Natural supplements

a. Panax ginseng

b. DHEA

c. Rhodiola Rosea

III. Acupressure

IV. Acupuncture

V. Exercises

a. Pelvic floor exercises

b. Pilates

c. Aerobic exercise

VI. Diet


Overview

ED is a prevalent problem in men of all ages. This condition is more common in older men, but all people with penises will likely experience some form of ED in their life. The likelihood of ED increases with age but can also occur due to underlying medical problems, trauma, or outside influences.

ED occurs when a person is unable to get or keep an erection. Alcohol consumption, stress, fatigue, and anxiety are common causes of ED. This condition can harm a person’s sex life and mental state.

Natural supplements

Medications like Viagra are commonly used to treat ED by relaxing the smooth muscles of blood vessels in the body as well as increasing blood flow to the penis. [1] Physical causes of ED may be treated with drugs, but you can do several things along with medication to improve your sexual health and resolve your ED.

If your ED is not completely based on physical conditions, then supplements and exercises may naturally improve your symptoms. Read on for herbs commonly used to improve ED.

a. Panax ginseng (red ginseng)

Panax ginseng is often called herbal Viagra. This supplement has ginsenosides that provide the body with anti-inflammatory properties. These properties improve lung function and blood flow, which is beneficial in helping with ED.

b. DHEA

DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is a natural hormone that is created by the adrenal glands. Several studies have found that many men with ED have low levels of DHEA in their system. DHEA can be converted into both estrogen and testosterone in the body. This supplement derives from wild yam and soy.

 In one 2009 study, 20 men were given 50 mcg of DHEA and another 20 men placebo. After six months, it was found that those who took DHEA were more likely to maintain an erection. This hormone is increasingly being used as a treatment for men with ED and diabetes. Diabetic men are more affected by ED because diabetic complications often interfere with blood flow to the organs.

A person grabbing assorted herbs on a table

c. Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola Rosea is an herb that grows in mountainous regions of Europe and Asia. Rosea roots are adaptogens, which may help the body adapt to stress. In one study, 26 out of 35 men experienced improved sexual function with the consumption of 150 to 200 mcg a day for three months. This herb is said to reduce fatigue and enhance energy, which can improve erectile function. [2]

Acupressure

Acupressure has been prevalent in traditional Chinese medicine for 2,000 years. Unlike acupuncture, this treatment does not require needles but targets pressure points on the body through self-massage. Acupressure releases energy blocks in the body through pathways called meridians. When these pathways become blocked, pain and illness can occur.

It is essential to maintain a relaxed state when using acupressure at home. Once you are relaxed, find the pressure point you want to target and apply firm pressure for 30 seconds to a minute. Some common pressure points include the lower leg below the knee, the ankle, and the lower back. When the proper acupressure techniques are applied to these points, blood vessels can dilate. This increased blood flow can have a direct effect on a person’s ability to get or maintain an erection. [3]

Acupuncture

If acupressure proves unsuccessful for improving ED, then you may want to consider acupuncture. This treatment involves needles, so it is the more invasive option. This form of alternative medicine involves the insertion of thin needles into the skin.

These needles are placed at strategic pressure points on the body. Western practitioners of acupuncture view this technique as a way to stimulate nerves, muscles, and connective tissues. The risks of this practice are low if your certified and competent acupuncturist uses sterile needles. [4]

It is thought that once the needles activate nerve endings, levels of norepinephrine (stress hormone), acetylcholine (neurotransmitter), and the enzymes of the central nervous system are positively affected. These reactions are said to connect to the improvement of erectile dysfunction in patients. The studies behind the effectiveness of acupuncture are often contested, so seek a doctor’s advice before booking a session. [5]

An acupuncturist applying a needle to a person's hand

Exercises

Several factors can cause ED, but it can often be attributed to the loss of muscle tone. Several muscles maintain an erection during sexual intercourse, and when those muscles lose tone, ED can occur. Medication only provides temporary relief, but specific exercises can give long-lasting results. Some activities can include:

a. Pelvic floor exercises

Pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegels, are the most beneficial for ED. There are muscles at the bottom of the pelvis; particularly one called the pubococcygeus. This muscle goes from the pubic bone to the tailbone and supports the pelvic organs. This muscle can weaken over time and prevent blood from flowing out of the erect penis properly.

One floor exercise includes sitting with the arms at the sides and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. In that position, activate the pelvic muscles for a count of three, ensuring that the stomach and leg muscles are not contracting. It can take around 4-6 weeks of these exercises for a person to notice a difference in their erections.

b. Pilates

Pilates is an exercise consisting of low-impact flexibility and muscular strength. This exercise focuses heavily on core strength and muscle balance, which is perfect for pelvic toning muscles. Beginner’s activities include small movements, like lying down with the knees bent, feet on the floor, and arms at the sides. Once in that position, squeeze the pelvic floor muscles and lower one knee to the floor. Start with four or five repetitions on each side and build up to 10.

That is one example of a Pilates exercise, but others include supine foot raises and pelvic curls. It is important to remember that it takes time to build strength in any muscle. If you continue participating in these exercises, the symptoms of your ED may improve.

A person running up a set of stairs

c. Aerobic exercise

Pilates and Kegels are low impact exercises used to strengthen pelvic floor muscles, but aerobic exercise can be beneficial as well. Aerobic activities should always be part of a healthy lifestyle because it can affect every aspect of your life, including intercourse.

Participating in regular aerobic exercise can maintain the healthy functioning of blood vessels and the heart, which then affects the health of the pelvic organs. Some examples of aerobic exercises can include boxing, rowing, spin classes, and cycling. For best results, each exercise session should be moderate to high intensity and last for at least 40 minutes.

Diet

Along with exercise, a balanced diet can affect essential aspects of ED. Those with ED are at a higher risk of being overweight. Alcohol is highly caloric and a common cause of infrequent ED. Alcohol causes the body to dehydrate, which then prevents the proper blood flow to the penis. Cutting alcohol out of your diet is beneficial not only to your sexual health but overall wellbeing.

If you follow dietary guidelines and limit your consumption of foods with added salt, sugar, and fat, you can reduce your chance for ED. Along with improving your sex life, you can lower your chance for strokes, metabolic disease, and heart disease. [6]

The content in this article is intended for informational purposes only. This website does not provide medical advice. In all circumstances, you should always seek the advice of your physician and/or other qualified health professionals(s) for drug, medical condition, or treatment advice. The content provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.