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Erectile Dysfunction Health Center

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Lifestyle Factors That May Affect Erections

The following lifestyle changes may reduce the risk of erection problems (erectile dysfunction):

  • Limit alcohol to fewer than 2 drinks a day, or eliminate alcohol if it seems to interfere with erections. Even small amounts of alcohol can result in erection problems.
  • Stop smoking. Smoking interferes with the ability of the blood vessels in the penis to relax and allow blood to flow in, which can affect your ability to have an erection.
  • Avoid the use of cocaine, heroin, and other illegal drugs.
  • Check your medicine. Many medicines can cause erection problems. Ask your doctor or pharmacist whether the medicines you are taking have any sexual side effects.
  • Lose weight, especially if you are obese.
  • Relax. Worrying about sexual performance may only make erection problems worse.
  • Talk to your partner about your problems and concerns. Sexual intimacy is a form of communication. If you and your partner aren't talking outside of the bedroom, it's unlikely that you will have good sexual intimacy.
  • Reduce stress. A heavy workload or stressful job can reduce your interest in and energy for sex. Regular exercise and other stress-relievers can help.
By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Christopher G. Wood, MD, FACS - Urology, Oncology
Last Revised May 12, 2010

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 12, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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