Erectile Dysfunction 101: Answering the Top 10 FAQs on ED

Hi!

I'm Dr. Anne Truong, MD

Dr. Anne Truong is a highly respected physician, best-selling author and internationally sought-after speaker on the topics of regenerative cell medicine, pain management, and applications for aesthetics and sexuality.

Many men may experience erectile dysfunction at some point, yet they may be reluctant to consult their doctors on the matter. To address this, I have compiled a list of the ten most frequently asked questions regarding erectile dysfunction.

  1. What is Erectile Dysfunction (ED)?
  2. What causes ED?
  3. Is ED a normal part of aging?
  4. Are there any natural remedies for ED?
  5. Can stress and anxiety cause ED?
  6. Can ED be treated?
  7. Is ED a symptom of a more serious health problem?
  8. How does lifestyle affect ED?
  9. Can ED be prevented?
  10. Are there any new treatments for ED?

Episode Video

What is Erectile Dysfunction?

man thinking about what is erectile dysfunction

ED is a condition in which a man is unable to achieve or maintain an erection during sexual activity.

It's a common problem that affects at least 30 million men. This is a study that was done in 1994 and God knows what it is right now. I'm expecting probably 60 million men at this point and that possibly even counting COVID. Because we know that COVID is inflammation of the blood vessels and ED is related to blood flow.

Also, ED have a significant impact on the quality of life and sexual relationship and it is very common. If you are between the ages of 40 to 70, 50% of men have ED.

ED could also mean that you can still have an erection, it just take you longer to get one. It could also mean that when you have an erection, you may lose it during penetration or you can't orgasm.

All those definition are all part of the definition of ED.

What Causes Erectile Dysfunction?

There are variety of causes of ED. 90% of causes are physical and 10% of it are psychological.

Physical causes include heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, inactivity, smoking, and excessive alcohol intake.

Psychological causes include stress, anxiety, performance anxiety, and depression.

Lifestyle factors play a big role in ED. Such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and sedentary behavior – particularly if your waist is over 40 inches.

Is Erectile Dysfunction a Normal Part of Aging?

NO. ED is not a normal part of aging.

Even though men that are older develop the risks of developing ED because risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity. That happens more when you're older because you're not exercising as much therefore you have those condition.

However, it is not an inevitable part of aging process. You can still be 90 and you can still have good sexual function.

Are There Any Natural Remedies for Erectile Dysfunction?

There are some natural remedies that can be found to help with ED. These includes exercise, such as a high intensity interval exercise, for about three hours a week. A healthy diet, such as a Mediterranean diet. Stress management technique and learning how to be more relaxed. Perhaps adding some meditation to your day.

However, it's important to remember that these remedies are not guaranteed to work for everyone and should be used in conjunction with your doctor's advice. Because you really do need to have bloodwork to figure out whether you may have other underlying conditions.

Can stress and anxiety cause Erectile Dysfunction?

YES, it can. Stress and anxiety can cause ED. In fact, it accounts for about 10% of ED.

Stress and anxiety increases your cortisol level which then increases your adrenaline and your norepinephrine. This can cause constriction in your blood flow. Also, when you don't have enough blood flow and when you're under stress, you're stimulating the sympathetic nervous system (your fight or flight nervous system). You're not going to be able to relax. When your penis muscles are not relaxed, you're not gonna be able to get an erection.

Remember, your parasympathetic nervous system is the system for you to get an erection. Sympathetic nervous system is for you to get an ejaculation. But you need to have the dominance of the parasympathetic nervous system to be able to get an erection.

If you're under stress and if you're not relax, you're not going to be able to get an erection. You should also see your doctor again for bloodwork.

Can Erectile Dysfunction be treated?

Of course, ED is treatable and there are a variety of treatment options available.

The main thing is to change your lifestyle first. Why? Because that's so much easier. But to do so, you have to answer these questions.

  • Do you smoking?
  • Are you drinking a lot of alcohol?
  • Do you watch lot of porn that's interfering with your day?
  • Are you exercising?
  • What type of diet are you eating?
  • Do you eat more of processed food, a high carb diet?
  • Are you getting enough sleep?
  • What is your stress level?
  • Do you have time to meditate and to relax?

You should try the lifestyle modification first and also get your blood work to make sure you don't have underlying conditions. Get your blood pressure and cholesterol level checked. We can measure inflammation levels in the blood work and also measure your hormones level as well. Because if you have low testosterone that could be a component as well

All of those factors I mentioned can be treated. Also, getting the appropriate treatment will depend on what the underlying cause of your ED. The reason why you have ED is due to decrease in your blood flow and the treatment is to increase blood flow.

Innovative Ways to Increase Blood Flow

PRP for ED

One of the innovative ways to increase blood flow is using platelet-rich plasma. Your own stem cell from your blood and that gets put into the penis to increase your blood flow.

Using shockwave therapy, which is soundwave therapy, and that is delivered to the penis to increase blood flow.

Taking supplements to increase your nitric oxide level will also increase blood flow and therefore increase your erection. I have talked about that in my previous podcast episode on nitric oxide and the supplement for nitric oxide. I also recommend eating a Mediterranean diet. (All of those resources are in the show notes)

Is Erectile Dysfunction a Symptom Of a More Serious Health Problem?

In some cases, ED can be as symptoms of a more serious health problem, such as heart disease, diabetes, and even a nerve problem.

If ED is affecting your quality of life and it's been getting worse, do not take prescription medication like Viagra. Taking an ED medication is only going to make your ED worse. It will get you into a black hole that you can't get out of. It’s like putting a band aid on an infected wound. What you really need to look at the cause of why you have ED.

ED is related to poor blood flow and poor blood flow is also related to a heart attack and getting a stroke. Once you have ED, studies have shown that about 57% of men 7 to 10 years down the road will have a heart attack if you do not address the cause of your ED.

If you continue taking your ED medications such as Viagra or Cialis, you're actually just covering the problem. You're making the blood flow problem worse.

How Does Lifestyle Affect Erectile Dysfunction?

healthy lifestyle to treat erectile dysfunction

Lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol use, and sedentary lifestyle contribute to ED.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, such as exercising, eating a Mediterranean diet, and keeping your alcohol consumption to maybe between 7 to 10 drinks in a week. Also, sleep at least 7 hours a day and decrease your stress level. When you're under stress, you're stimulating the sympathetic nervous system when you really need to be stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the system you want to be in to get an erection. Doing all of this can help reduce the risk of developing ED.

Can Erectile Dysfunction Be Prevented?

ED can be prevented by making the lifestyle changes that I talked about earlier. Managing your stress level, anxiety, and also exercise level can help in preventing ED too.

But it all comes down to Mediterranean diet, getting regular exercise, getting appropriate sleep, and stress management. All of that can go a long way in preventing your ED.

If you find out you have ED, know that it is treatable and you can prevent it.

Are There Any New Treatments for Erectile Dysfunction?

Yes, there are new treatment being developed and tested all the time.

At this time, the most important treatment that you need to know about is the lifestyle. It's what you eat, how much exercises, and also how many hours you sleep.

I also mention the using of your stem cell and shockwave therapy to increase blood flow to your penis.

You can also use supplements to increase your nitric oxide level. You should eat foods that are full of nitric oxide, such as green leafy vegetables and beets, as well. Those will increase the nitric oxide (a gas in your body that stimulates your blood flow). It will not only stimulate the blood flow to your penis, it will stimulate the blood flow to your heart, lungs, and every organ in your body.

Final Thoughts

When you're taking care of your erection, you're really taking care of your general health and your longevity. This will also help in increasing your heart health as well.

What are you waiting for? It's not just bedroom part that you need to be working on, it's your general overall health!

Additional Resources

Nitric Oxide Supplements

  • NO2UUse code “themodernman” for 10% off and FREE shipping!
  • N1O1Use code “themodernman” for 10% off and FREE shipping!

Mediterranean Diet with Intermittent Fasting (28 Days)

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