Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is the most common sexual disorder making its presence felt increasingly in the world. Most often than not, ED is the result of an existing medical condition. However, certain lifestyle choices are also known to lead to ED. Some clinical studies have shown that changing several lifestyle factors can significantly improve erectile function and enhance testosterone levels.

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1)   Physical activities: Being a couch potato helps no one. Moderate to high physical activities are known to reduce the risk of ED. In a random study, 60 patients with ED were split into two groups. One group received PDE-5 inhibitors alone, while the other group was told to supplement PDE-5i with aerobics. After three months, it was found that the group who supplemented PDE-5i with physical activities saw a higher percentage (around 77%) of sexual satisfaction and recovery from ED. This showed that the effect of medical ED therapy was amplified when accompanied by physical activities.

2)   Weight Loss: People who are overweight, obese or suffer from metabolic syndrome are at a higher risk of incurring ED. Weight loss either through diet or through bariatric intervention increases the level of gonadotropins and testosterone. Studies on short-term and long-term weight loss demonstrated an improvement in ED.

3)   Dietary factors: Poor diet can lead to cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and high blood pressure, which are all the precursors to ED. Consumption of whole-grain foods, legumes, vegetables, fruits, nuts and reduction in red meat, alcohol and sugary beverages reduces the risk of ED. In fact, men who are strictly into the Mediterranean diet see a low occurrence of ED.

4)   Smoking: Direct intake of tobacco or indirect exposure increases the chance of ED. In the long run, men who stop smoking see a significant improvement in ED.

5)   Work on stress and relationships: Stress harms the mind and body. It is one of the significant reasons for ED. Identify the underlying causes to arrive at a suitable strategy to manage stress. Any issues bogging you down, discuss it with your partner. Any animosity in a relationship can be a possible cause for ED.

6)   Limit alcohol intake: Though light to moderate alcohol consumption relaxes the body, heavy drinking does just the opposite. Too much alcohol dulls the central nervous system responsible for stimulating nitric oxide. Lack of nitric oxide leads to ED.

7)   Check on the medications: Antidepressants, antihistamines, heart medications, hormonal drugs, anti-psychotic drugs, and some other medications cause ED as a side-effect. Consult your doctor if you suspect that your medications may be causing ED.

8)   Maintaining active sex-life: Though there are no concrete studies to prove this, having sex at least once a week is known to reduce the risk of ED.

The mentioned lifestyle changes are known to improve the endothelial function, enhance testosterone levels and nitric oxide availability, thus reducing ED.