an erection: three words that come with a lot of pressure.
Sometimes, problems with your erection
aren’t exactly your fault. Genetics and certain health conditions
– say, diabetes or heart disease – can make it hard to get hard, since problems
that affect your blood vessels can run in families, says Dr Ryan Berglund, a
urologist at the Cleveland Clinic. And you need uncompromised blood flow to
your penis to get a healthy erection.
Plus, while erectile dysfunction (ED)
can hit guys at any age, the older you get, the higher your likelihood of
developing sexual performance issues, he says.
Read more: Your risk of erectile dysfunction more than triples if you have this health condition
many of the factors that affect your penis health and your performance in the
bedroom are under your control. And even if you’re prone to poor penis health
due to things you can’t really change, you can boost your chances of a better
erection by focusing on the things you can tweak.
a better session in the sack tonight? Make these seven changes today.
1. Wake up with
beverage of choice in the morning can play a role in how well you perform in
the bedroom later that night. Research from the University of Texas Health Science
Center at Houston found that men who consumed the caffeine equivalent of two to three
cups of coffee a day were less likely to report ED issues than guys who steered
clear of the stimulant. The study authors say that caffeine has properties
similar to Viagra. The stimulant helps the arteries in your penis to relax and
your blood flow to increase – both factors necessary for a strong erection.
Read more: 10 reasons why you should drink coffee every day
2. Start sweating –
but not spinning
isn’t just great for your heart: Your penis benefits, too. Men who do regular
aerobic exercise tend to have healthier blood vessels – which are crucial for
erections – than overweight, sedentary men, says Dr Berglund. And the more
intensely you exercise, the better your penis health seems to be. Men who
worked out at least 18 “METS” – or metabolic equivalent of task, which takes
into account both workout duration and intensity – per week reported better
erectile function than more sedentary guys, a 2015 study in The Journal
of Sexual Medicine found. For example, running for one hour at a
6-minute km pace (that’s 10 km in an hour) would give you a MET score of
9.8. Doing that twice a week would put you over the 18 MET mark.
Read more: 5 ways running affects your penis
may help your body create a compound called nitric oxide, which helps you get
and maintain an erection, the study authors told us. Just consider that run
over a ride: “Endurance cyclists who spend a long time on their bike seats may
have more trouble with ED,” says Dr Erin Michos, an associate professor of
Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Blame restrictive
clothing and the shape of the seat, which may injure your perineum.
Read more: Can cycling affect your fertility?
3. Eat berries,
oranges, red wine, apples and pears
to a study from the UK of over 25 000 men, those who ate more than three
servings a week of berries, oranges, red wine, apples, were 19% less
likely to develop erectile dysfunction over the 10-year follow up period than
men who didn’t eat them. Researchers suggest that compounds called flavonoids,
which are abundant in these foods, can improve blood flow by making your
arteries more flexible, in turn helping your member, the study authors told us.
4. Quit smoking (even
for a day)
should be used to the refrain by now: Whatever’s good for your heart is good
for your penis. That means quitting smoking is no exception. In fact, in a
study of over 2 800 smokers, researchers from Iran discovered that 25%
of men who quit the habit reported an improvement in their erections one year
sans cigs. In comparison, none of the guys who continued smoking experienced
erection improvement – and 7% of current smokers said their
erections actually got worse during that year.
Read more: How to maintain the health of your erection
main ingredient, nicotine, is a vasoconstrictor, meaning it impairs the ability
of the arteries in the penis to dilate, explains Dr Berglund. And when blood
flow to your penis is compromised, so is your erection. Even one day off
smoking can clear nicotine from your system, allowing your blood vessels to
dilate more, he adds. Still, you want to play the long game: Stub out the
smokes for good.
5. Chill out
is a serious sex-killer. Not only do stress hormones like cortisol inhibit your
body’s ability to get an erection, but stress has a way of squashing intimacy,
a huge part of a successful romp session, says Dr Berglund. In fact, the higher
levels of cortisol men had, the lower their scores were on tests of sexual
functioning, which includes things like how confident they were they could get
an erection, how often their erections were hard enough for penetration, and
how often was it difficult to maintain an erection during sex, a study from
Your move: Download apps that help with relaxation and meditation. Research
from Carnegie Mellon University finds that just 25 minutes a day of meditation
is enough to lower stress levels.
Read more: How your big toe can signal problems with your erection
6. Skip the nightcap
might make you feel like you’re a sex machine, but your member will tell you
differently. That’s because alcohol messes with the nerve function that creates
an erection, explains Dr Berglund. It’s also a depressant, which means by the
time you think you’ll be roaring and ready, you’ll likely simply be exhausted.
Read more: 5 ways you can make your sperm stronger right now
7. Brush up
going on in your mouth can affect you below the belt: Men with periodontal
disease – or gum disease caused by a build-up of plaque – are about twice as likely
to have ED than men with healthier gums, a review from Nature concluded. “Poor
dental hygiene has been linked to increased inflammation in the body and with
cardiovascular disease risk,” says Dr. Michos. That’s because chronic
inflammation can damage the delicate cells in the inside of your blood vessels,
which are critical for proper erectile function.
published on menshealth.com