Men's Health

Five Ways to Fight ED

Erectile dysfunction is a worrisome issue for many men, especially in middle age and beyond. According to experts from Harvard Medical School, it can sometimes be ascribed to the side effect of a medication. But for most men, the experts say, it may be linked to heart or brain disease, diabetes or treatments related to prostate conditions.

Here, the Harvard experts, who have written a special report called What to Do About Erectile Dysfunction, suggest some tips that can lead to better health and a better sex life:

Walk. One Harvard study showed that 30 minutes of walking each day was linked to a 41 percent reduction in ED risk.

Eat well. A diet that emphasized fruit, vegetables, whole grains and fish can reduce the risk of ED, the Harvard experts say. And a B12 deficiency may be another factor. The experts say that many older people may absorb Vitamin B12 poorly, so they suggest trying a daily multivitamin and eating fortified food.

Monitor your vascular health. Hypertension, high blood sugar, high triglycerides and high cholesterol can contribute to ED. Ask your doctor if you need to consider lifestyle changes and medications, the Harvard experts say.

Manage your weight. The Harvard experts say being slim helps you avoid ED – a man with a 42-inch waist is 50 percent more likelier to have ED than a man with a 32-inch waist. Obesity is also a factor in vascular illness and diabetes – and those are two major causes of ED.

Do some Kegels. Although many people think of Kegels only in connection with women, these exercises can help strengthen anyone’s pelvic-floor muscles. According to the Harvard experts, having a strong pelvic floor helps rigidity during erections. (Editor’s note: To perform Kegel exercises, squeeze your muscles as if you are trying to stop urination and passing gas. Hold the contraction for five seconds; you should release the contraction slowly. Ideally, you should build up to 10 sets of Kegels, three times a day.)

For more on diagnosing and treating ED, buy What to do about Erectile Dysfunction, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School. Click here to order.