By DR GREGGORY PINTO
Getting a good quality erection and maintaining an erection can be an overwhelmingly stressful task for many men of various ages.
Erectile dysfunction will affect every man to some degree at some point in their lives. But erection problems should never be an issue that is dealt with in embarrassing silence. You are not alone.
For erectile dysfunction it is imperative to determine the cause and treat the cause and not just mask the symptoms.
A man may achieve a satisfactory erection by taking prescribed and regulated medications such as Viagra, Cialis or Levitra, but if the underlying cause of the erectile dysfunction is not managed properly then these medications will eventually become ineffective.
The untreated underlying cause of the erectile dysfunction may also lead to irreversible, permanent damage to the nerve supply or blood supply to the penis.
Erectile dysfunction may be associated with cardiovascular disease, new onset or poorly controlled diabetes, or hypertension or low testosterone levels.
There are several things that men can do to improve their erections tonight and in the short term.
Firstly, relax as anxiety and self imposed stress to perform can worsen the erectile issues. The additional pressure that a man can place on himself, particularly if he had a previous episode of erectile dysfunction, can lead to further erectile problems.
2. Wake up with coffee
What you drink in the morning can assist your performance in the bedroom later that night. Research from the University of Texas Health Science Centre at Houston found that men who consumed the caffeine equivalent of two cups of coffee a day were less likely to have erectile dysfunction problems than men who abstained from coffee. Coffee is a stimulant that helps the arteries in your penis to relax and your blood flow to increase, two factors necessary for a strong erection.
3. Stop smoking
Cigarette smoking is well known to be hazardous to your health, increasing one's risk for all cancers and leading to heart disease. Smoking can also can lead to blockage of blood vessels including those supplying the penis. The nicotine found in cigarettes is a vasoconstrictor that impairs the ability of the arteries in the penis to dilate. Abstaining from cigarettes for even one day can reduce the nicotine in your system and allow for improved dilatation of penile blood vessels. Quitting cigarettes altogether must be the ultimate goal, your heart and all your organs including your penis will thank you.
4. Take your chronic meds
Uncontrolled diabetes, high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol can all negatively affect your erections. If you have been diagnosed with hypertension or hypercholesterolemia or diabetes mellitus then be compliant with your medications. Sustained elevated high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and uncontrolled diabetes can in the short term ruin your erections and in the long run the erectile dysfunction could become permanent.
Some classes of high blood pressure medications are recognised to have the side effect of leading to poor erectile function, but there are many other classes of high blood pressure medications that will not negatively affect your erections and in fact some high blood pressure medications can improve blood supply to the penis. Seek medical assistance with changing your chronic medications if they are thought to negatively affect your erections. High blood pressure is called the silent killer for a reason; having few symptoms until permanent damage is done to organs and blood vessels. Never discontinue high blood pressure medications yourself because of unwanted side effects to erectile function.
5. Drink in moderation
The liquid courage that you feel that you may get from alcohol intake prior to sexual encounters, can actually negatively impact your erections. Alcohol is a depressant and a diuretic, which could have you feeling a distracting urge to urinate during the heated moment and have you feeling exhausted when you want to be your most energetic. Routine high alcohol intake can lower male sex hormones and lead to penile nerve impairment.
6. Brush your teeth
There is a strong correlation between dental disease and erectile dysfunction. Ensure proper daily oral hygiene. In a scientific study in Taiwan, men with erectile dysfunction were show to be 79 percent more likely to have chronic periodontal disease than men without erectile dysfunction.
Gum disease can lead to chronic inflammation that could damage endothelial cells that line the blood vessels. This endothelial damage could lead to impaired blood supply to the penis. Periodontal disease is also a risk factor for developing diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease, both of which also negatively impact erectile function.
7. Eat healthy
Healthy eating and living will positively impact all organs of your body, including your all important male member. The same unhealthy diet that leads to cardiovascular disease, leads to erectile dysfunction. Certain foods can stimulate and improve blood circulation, including to the penis; such as leafy greens, oysters, dark chocolates and shellfish
Antioxidants like lycopene that are found in berries, tomatoes, fruits and vegetables can lower heart disease risk and ultimately lower the risk of developing erectile dysfunction.
8. Exercise and stop being a couch potato
Get daily exercise and stay away from a sedentary lifestyle. Walk up and down stairs instead of taking the elevator, for example. Cardio workouts are greatly beneficial for your cardiovascular health and your erectile health. Pelvic floor exercises can strengthen pelvic muscular and lead to improved erections. Pelvic floor muscles are important in sustaining blood flow to the penis and maintaining good erections.
Erectile dysfunction has multiple potential causes, and self-diagnosis and masking symptoms by taking unregulated medications does not treat the underlying cause. Many Bahamian men take pills sold at the gas station that contain dangerous substances that can negatively impact the kidneys, the liver, the heart, and the general well-being of the individual.
Erectile dysfunction may be the first sign of cardiovascular disease, hypertension or diabetes or high cholesterol. It is important to have a comprehensive, confidential and compassionate urological consultation to manage any erectile dysfunction.
Seek confidential, comprehensive and compassionate urology care and regain control of your body and your happiness.
•Dr Greggory Pinto is a board certified Bahamian urologist and laparoscopic surgeon trained in South Africa, Germany, and France. He can be reached at Urology Care Bahamas at the Surgical Suite, Centreville Medical Centre, #68 Collins Avenue/Sixth Terrace, Nassau. Call (242) 326-1929; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the website:www.urologycarebahamas.com.