Protect Your Erection: 11 Tips
How to avoid erectile dysfunction and protect your potency.
4. Drink alcohol in moderation or not at all.
There is no evidence that mild or even moderate alcohol consumption is bad for erectile function, says Ira Sharlip, MD, a urology professor at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine. But chronic heavy drinking can cause liver damage, nerve damage, and other conditions -- such as interfering with the normal balance of male sex hormone levels -- that can lead to ED.
5. Exercise regularly.
Strong evidence links a sedentary lifestyle to erectile dysfunction. Running, swimming, and other forms of aerobic exercise have been shown to help prevent ED.
Watch out for any form of exercise that puts excessive pressure on the perineum, which is the area between the scrotum and anus. Both the blood vessels and the nerves that supply the penis can be adversely affected from excessive pressure in this area. Goldstein says bicycle riding, in particular, can cause ED.
An occasional short ride is unlikely to cause trouble. But men who spend a lot of time biking should make sure their bike fits them properly, wear padded cycling pants, and stand up frequently while pedaling.
"No-nose" bike seats protect against genital numbness and sexual dysfunction, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
6. Don't rely on Kegels.
One form of exercise that doesn't seem helpful is Kegel exercises, which involve repeatedly contracting and relaxing the muscles in the pelvis. Kegels can be helpful for men and women suffering from incontinence. But there's no evidence that they prevent erectile dysfunction.
7. Keep tabs on testosterone.
Even in healthy men, testosterone levels often begin falling sharply around age 50. Every year after age 40, a man's testosterone level typically falls about 1.3%.
Symptoms like a low sex drive, moodiness, lack of stamina, or trouble making decisions suggest a testosterone deficiency, as do lackluster erections. Your doctor can check on that.
8. Avoid anabolic steroids.
These drugs, which are often abused by athletes and bodybuilders, can shrink the testicles and sap their ability to make testosterone.
9. If you smoke, stop.
Smoking cigarettes can harm blood vessels and curb blood flow to the penis. And nicotine makes blood vessels contract, which can hamper blood flow to the penis.