Can You Reverse Erectile Dysfunction?

By Katharine Paljug  @YourCareE
June 09, 2023
Can You Reverse Erectile Dysfunction?

Nearly 75 percent of men with erectile dysfunction avoid the doctor, yet it is possible to reverse symptoms of erectile dysfunction. Here's what you should know.

Erectile dysfunction, also known as ED, is a difficulty achieving and maintaining an erection that interferes with sexual performance and satisfaction. Many men occasionally have difficulty maintaining an erection, but this difficulty is only considered erectile dysfunction when it persists over time.

There are many causes of ED, both psychological and physical, and it can sometimes be an indication of a more severe, underlying health problem. Around 30 million men in the United States experience erectile dysfunction in their lives. One study, however, found that nearly 75 percent of men experiencing ED do not seek help from a doctor. 

That is unfortunate because more than 95 percent of men with symptoms of erectile dysfunction can be treated successfully, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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What causes erectile dysfunction?

There are both physical and mental causes of erectile dysfunction.

Sexual performance is influenced by androgens, testosterone, and other hormones, so hypogonadism, endocrine disorders, and other hormone imbalances can cause ED. Those factors can occur at any age. 

Men of any age can experience erectile dysfunction as a side effect of medication, particularly if they take multiple medicines to treat one or more chronic disorders. Erectile dysfunction can also happen after treatment for certain cancers, including rectal and prostate cancer, though some patients find that this type of ED improves on its own in time. 

Younger men often experience erectile dysfunction due to stress, anxiety, and other psychological or emotional factors. ED occurs most often, however, in men over age 60, but it starts in 40 percent of them by age 40. As your body ages, decreased blood flow through your arteries, plaque buildup, and weakened muscles in your pelvic floor can interfere with achieving an erection. 

At any age, erectile dysfunction can be a sign of underlying conditions such as diabetes, or depression. To determine the cause of your ED and get treatment, you should talk with your doctor about your symptoms, no matter how embarrassing you may find them.

Treatment for erectile dysfunction

The most common medical treatment for erectile dysfunction is sildenafil, commonly known as Viagra, a medication originally developed to treat hypertension that improves blood flow to the penis. But other treatments can be more effective in reversing your ED, depending on the underlying cause. 

Some studies show that hormone therapy can assist men with hormone imbalances or endocrine disorders. Other researchers have found success with statins, a type of cholesterol-lowering drug. 

For men with psychological causes underlying their ED, therapy may help reduce the stress and anxiety causing their problem. Acupuncture might also improve sexual performance in men suffering from ED as a side effect of antidepressants. 

Reversing erectile dysfunction without medication

Before seeking medication to reverse erectile dysfunction, you can try a few lifestyle changes, as researchers have found that such natural remedies can have the most impact at any age on underlying causes of ED. 

Several studies indicate that obesity, smoking, high cholesterol, and a sedentary lifestyle are associated with higher instances of ED. By contrast, losing weight, quitting smoking, and exercising regularly can improve blood flow through your body, a key component of a strong erection. 

You can also talk to your doctor or a physical therapist about exercises that target your pelvic floor. These muscles, tissues, and nerves support and control your bladder, rectum, and pelvis, and are essential to sexual performance. Research shows that strengthening the muscles of the pelvic floor can reverse symptoms of erectile dysfunction in men of any age. And any type of exercise increases levels of nitric oxide in your blood vessels — the same thing that Viagra does. 

Reducing the amount of alcohol you drink can also increase your levels of nitric oxide. Alcohol consumption inhibits your central nervous system, which is responsible for releasing nitric oxide. Limiting your alcohol intake to one or fewer drinks per day will improve your body’s ability to attain and maintain an erection.

Drinking less will also improve the quality of your sleep, and poor sleep is associated with sexual dysfunction. Avoiding alcohol before bed, creating a healthy sleep routine, and getting sufficient, regular rest can improve sexual performance and reverse symptoms of ED. 

Even if your doctor does recommend medication, it is likely to be more effective when coupled with lifestyle changes that improve your blood flow, nitric oxide levels, muscular function, and overall health. 


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June 09, 2023

Reviewed By:  

Janet O’Dell, RN