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Erectile Dysfunction Health Center

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Protect Your Erection: 11 Tips

How to avoid erectile dysfunction and protect your potency.

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.

10. Steer clear of risky sex.

Believe it or not, some cases of erectile dysfunction stem from penile injuries that occur during sex. Taking your time and avoiding certain positions can help. It may be uncomfortable, but consider talking to your doctor about what to do and, more importantly, what not to do.  

11. Curb stress.

Psychological stress boosts levels of the hormone adrenaline, which makes blood vessels contract. That can be bad news for an erection. Anything a man can do to ease tension and feel better emotionally is likely to give his sex life a big boost.

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Reviewed on October 18, 2013

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