Sexual Health

Can Erectile Dysfunction Be Reversed?

Sexual function plays a significant role in a man’s ability to feel confident in the bedroom.

Adequate performance in the bedroom is often even associated with factors like masculinity.

Studies have already confirmed that problems with erectile function cause issues with a man’s self-confidence1. Associated sexual dysfunctions, such as a low sex drive, may further contribute to these issues.

Erectile dysfunction is generally considered an important sexual problem among men. The condition often presents itself among older male patients. Some younger men experience symptoms of ED too.

Recognizing the condition helps implement erectile dysfunction treatments sooner. This may yield better results.

In some cases, simple lifestyle changes and a few natural strategies may restore erectile function. This reduces the man’s exposure to pharmaceutical drugs that may come with side-effects.

We look at whether erectile dysfunction can be reversed in this post. We also consider the types of erectile dysfunction and consider what type of measures would be needed to reverse these symptoms effectively.

What Is ED?

There is a general classification used by physicians to determine if a man has erectile dysfunction. In the majority of cases, a man will be asked about the specific symptoms they experience. This helps the physician assess the problem.

Erectile dysfunction is not diagnosed if these symptoms only occur occasionally. It becomes a possible diagnosis in men who experience erection problems more frequently.

In the United States, at least 18.4% of men who are older than 20 experience signs of erectile dysfunction2. This accounts for an estimated 18 million men in the US.

Age is a critical factor in the risk of erectile dysfunction. Several factors also account for risks for men. Among men who have been diagnosed with diabetes, for example, the prevalence of ED is 51.3%.

Men with erectile dysfunction will have the following complaints3:

  • Unable to have or maintain an erection; or

  • The ability to have an erection, but it is not rigid enough for sexual intercourse; or

  • The man can have a rigid erection, but it goes away too quickly during sex

All three of these possible scenarios can be exceptionally unpleasant in men.

Erectile dysfunction causes problems with a man’s self-esteem. The condition can also lead to problems with the patient’s relationship. It makes the man suffer from poor libido. When trying to reproduce, a man may also find that erectile dysfunction becomes an obstacle.

When a man is diagnosed with erectile dysfunction, the physician will need to consider what the cause may be. This is an essential step during the diagnosis process. There are two primary types of erectile dysfunction. Each has a specific reason behind it. The type of ED helps the physician determine what the best treatment would be for the male patient.

There are generally two types of erectile dysfunction that a man may be diagnosed with. The causes behind the ED is what helps the physician determine what type of condition the patient has.

The two types of ED that have been identified in medical practice include:

Organic impotence:

This is a relatively common type of erectile dysfunction. In most cases, organic impotence causes a weak erection. The man will not have an erection rigid enough to penetrate their sexual partner.

The erection the man obtains will not last throughout the entire period of sexual intercourse. This type of impotence is caused by physiological factors4. This is generally linked to poor blood flow, especially in the pelvic area. High blood pressure is an example risk factor for organic impotence. The same applies to diabetes and heart disease.

Psychogenic impotence:

Psychogenic impotence is also becoming an increasingly concerning problem in the modern world. This is erectile dysfunction caused by psychological factors. It has been confirmed that depression and anxiety both contribute to sexual dysfunction in the male population5.

This is a two-way factor. Men with mental illness are at risk of developing ED. At the same time, erectile dysfunction symptoms can worsen existing mental illness. The mental illness will often cause a reduced libido. This is what contributes to poor erectile function.

Can ED Be Reversed?

The development of erectile dysfunction symptoms in men can be worrisome. Men do need to realize that they are not alone in the process. There are millions of men with the condition.

One of the most common questions asked is whether or not erectile dysfunction can be reversed. The answer to this question is not as simple as it may seem. This is because of the two ED types that have been identified. Furthermore, the severity of the condition also affects the success of the treatment options that may be initiated.

The good news is, there are many cases where erectile dysfunction can be effectively reversed. It does depend on a few factors, however.
Things that a man will have to take into consideration to determine whether their ED may be reversible include:

Why they are experiencing erectile dysfunction symptoms. It is sometimes easier to reverse ED caused by psychological factors. Still, there are effective treatments available for physiological factors that affect erectile dysfunction.

  • How severe erectile dysfunction is should also be taken into account. Men with mild symptoms may be able to reverse the condition effectively. A man with severe ED might have to take drugs to treat the condition over a long period of time. The man may also not be able to experience an erection without these drugs at all.

  • The man’s willingness to make the appropriate lifestyle changes also plays a role. When a man is not willing to implement the appropriate changes, then the likeliness of reversing erectile dysfunction is adversely affected.

  • When ED is not too severe, and the man is willing to make the right changes, then a reversal of the condition may certainly be possible. There are different ways in which a man might have to reduce their symptoms — implementing the right strategies in important. This is why a discussion with a physician is often advised before implementing strategies to address ED symptoms. The underlying causes behind erectile dysfunction need to be identified. Appropriate strategies then need to be implemented to help address these causes.

  • When the causes behind erectile dysfunction are targeted, there is a higher chance of reducing the severity of the symptoms. The reversal of erectile dysfunction also becomes a stronger possibility.

Methods For Reversing ED

Many strategies may be used to assist in the reversal of erectile dysfunction. While there is no guarantee that erectile dysfunction will be reversed in every patient, these strategies can still be useful.

Most men find that even a small chance of a reversal in the condition can offer them the motivation to implement these strategies.

The first step to recognizing the appropriate methods for reversing erectile dysfunction is to consider the causes.

A man will first need to understand if the causes are linked to physiological or psychological factors. These factors affect a man’s sexual health differently. This is why it is important first to recognize the reason behind the poor erectile function.

Recognizing Psychological Factors

In cases of psychological factors, a man should look out for signs of the following conditions:

Some men may also suffer from other psychological problems that affect their erectile function. Performance anxiety is one problem to take note of. This often develops and becomes worse in men with erectile dysfunction symptoms. Additionally, men with an addiction to pornography also need to take note of the role such a condition pays in their erectile function.

Recognizing Physiological Factors

There are a large number of physical factors that play a role in erectile function and sexual health. This is why physicians will generally require a full physical check-up of a patient before they can understand why the man suffers from ED.

Some of the most important physiological factors behind erectile dysfunction include:

In addition to these, men also need to realize there are certain physical risk factors behind ED. Obesity is currently considered one of the most important risks that need to be taken into consideration6.

Other physiological risk factors tend to include smoking, as well as excessive alcohol usage. The use of illicit drugs also needs to be taken into consideration. Several illicit drugs may adversely affect a man’s erectile function.

The use of certain drugs may also affect erectile function. There are several drugs that may adversely affect sexual health and erectile function.

Examples of such medications include:

  • Furosemide

  • Torsemide

  • Ethacrynic acid

  • Chlorothiazide

  • Chlorthalidone

  • Hydrochlorothiazide

Some antidepressant medication may also adversely affect both libido and erectile function in men. Antidepressant drugs known to contribute to erectile dysfunction include:

  • MAOIs

  • SNRIs

  • SSRIs

  • Tetracyclic antidepressants

  • Tricyclic antidepressants

There are also a number of medications used for hypertension that may harm sexual health. These may cause a man to experience difficulties with the man’s erectile function.

Other than these, men should also be cautious when using opioid medicines to treat pain. Some acid reflux medicine and certain antihistamines may also contribute to erectile dysfunction symptoms.

How To Reverse ED

Reversing ED starts with an analysis of a person’s lifestyle and other factors that are uniquely related to them. This helps the person and a physician recognize potential problems in the man’s life.

These factors contribute to his erectile dysfunction symptoms. A plan should then be developed to target the factors that are causing the man to experience weak erectile function.

When these factors are recognized, a man has to consider what steps they need to take to address the causes behind their erectile dysfunction.

Strategies that will be included in the plan to reverse ED will generally include a combination of the following:

  • A series of lifestyle changes

  • Considering medications used at the moment

  • The possibility of using ED drugs

  • Considering surgical procedures to fix underlying issues

  • The use of therapies to assist with mental factors

There are also some all-natural ways that men can try to reverse ED. These are often less invasive and will usually not expose the man’s body to the chemicals found in pharmaceuticals.

Lifestyle Changes

For a lot of men, lifestyle changes if often the first recommendation to assist in the reversal of erectile dysfunction. This is an important step. In many cases, it is a man’s lifestyle choices that contribute to the development of the condition in the first place. Thus, by recognizing lifestyle factors causing ED, it is possible to make the right changes.

First of all, a man should take a look at their weight. Obesity has a strong link to erectile dysfunction. A man who is obese will be much more likely to have erectile dysfunction compared to a man with a healthy weight.

When a man is obese, he needs to implement steps to lose weight. There are various ways for a man to reduce their weight effectively. This type of goal does require serious changes in their lifestyle.

This is also where other lifestyle changes come into the picture. A lot of men who are obese have unhealthy eating habits. In addition to these eating habits, obese men also often live sedentary lifestyles.

The first step is for the man to take a closer look at their eating habits. Important factors include:

  • How much the man eats

  • What the man eats

  • How frequently he eats

The overconsumption of food leads to weight gain. This is always the case with a calorie surplus. What this means is that more calories are consumed than the number of calories the man burns in a single day.

For obesity to be targeted, a man needs to create a calorie deficit in his eating habits. Careful consideration needs to go into a diet plan.

There should be a limit in terms of how many calories the man eats each day.

An exercise program will need to be implemented too. This should include physical activities that will help the man burn an adequate number of calories daily.

Setting up a diet plan does not only include filling up those calories. Empty calories are bad for the human body. This means reducing sugar and saturated fats. Including more leafy green vegetables, fruits, lean meats, and nuts, for example, can be helpful.

These foods contribute to an improved nutritional balance in the male body. Certain vitamins and minerals contribute to a better balance in hormones. Higher levels of testosterone improve sex drive. In turn, this helps to provide a possible improvement in erectile function.

Medication

Some drugs contribute to erectile dysfunction, as previously mentioned. At the same time, certain medicines can help treat erectile dysfunction.

The patient should first consider if they are currently taking any medication that may contribute to weak erections.

If this is the case, the man should discuss their prescription drugs with a doctor. There are many scenarios where a change in current prescription medication may already yield improvements in erectile function.

Common drugs that may be prescribed to treat erectile dysfunction include:

  • Vardenafil, sold under the brand names Staxyn and Levitra

  • Sildenafil, which is sold under the brand name Viagra

  • Tadalafil, available as Cialis or Adcirca

  • Avanafil sold as Stendra

Some concerning side effects have been linked to the use of these drugs. Men should understand their own risk.

A doctor will usually be able to determine if a man can safely use these Erectile Dysfunction medications. In cases where the man may be at risk, alternative strategies might be advised. This may help to reduce the risk of serious side-effects.

Other treatments for erectile dysfunction include:

  • Alprostadil penile injections – works by widening (dilating) blood vessels to improve the flow of blood.

  • Testosterone replacement. Some men have erectile dysfunction that might be complicated by low levels of the hormone testosterone. In this case, testosterone replacement therapy might be recommended.

  • Penile pumps. A penis pump (vacuum erection device) is a hollow tube with a hand-powered or battery-powered pump. The tube is placed over your penis, and then the pump is used to suck out the air inside the tube. This creates a vacuum that pulls blood into your penis.

Surgery

In rare cases, a physician may advise a man to consider a surgical procedure to treat erectile dysfunction.

The procedure is called Vascular Reconstructive Surgery7. This is an option for men with more severe symptoms of ED. During this surgical procedure, arteries in the penis are reconstructed.

The purpose of the surgery is to improve blood flow to the penis. Blood flow plays a critical role in erectile function. By improving blood flow, there may be an improvement in the man’s ability to have a normal erection.

The surgical procedure does come with certain risks. Thus, the patient should carefully consider both the pros and cons of the surgery.

Therapy

A lot of men experience psychological factors that cause erectile dysfunction. In these cases, therapy with a psychologist may sometimes yield an improvement in the man’s symptoms. This type of treatment would only yield results in men with psychogenic impotence.

Studies have shown that psychological treatment yields an effective improvement in some cases8. There are different types of psychological therapies that may be utilized. In some cases, simply having therapy sessions with a therapist can already be useful for the male patient.

Natural Treatments

There are also some natural treatments suggested for men with erectile dysfunction. These are often used as alternatives to Viagra and other pharmaceutical treatments.

There are a few studies that have shown positive effects of specific natural treatments. When opting for a natural treatment, men do need to note that some side-effects can still be experienced.

There are several supplements that can help. Some options that men may want to consider include:

Some alternative therapies may also be useful. Some men find that acupuncture is effective at reducing the effects of erectile dysfunction.

Conclusion

Erectile dysfunction affects a large number of men throughout the world. The condition causes a man to lack performance in the bedroom. Some men can still have an erection but fail to maintain the erection during sex. This is why many ask if erectile dysfunction can be reversed.

There are cases where the caused behind the condition can be addressed. In these scenarios, some men could find that their symptoms ease up.

With the right treatments and therapies, there is a possibility of reversing ED. Some men, however, may have severe erectile dysfunction. This makes treatment more difficult. It also reduces the chances of successfully reversing the condition.

Sources

  1. International Journal of Impotence Research. (2014) Relationship between erectile function and sexual self-confidence: a path analytic model in men being treated with tadalafil. [online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23864107
  2.  The American Journal of Medicine. (2007) Prevalence and Risk Factors for Erectile Dysfunction in the US. [online] Available at: https://www.amjmed.com/article/S0002-9343(06)00689-9/fulltext
  3. American Family Physician Journal. (2016) Erectile Dysfunction. [online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27929275
  4. Clinical Methods: The History, Physical, and Laboratory Examinations. 3rd edition. (1990) Chapter 187: Organic Impotence. [online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK297/
  5. Journal of Comprehensive Psychiatry. (2015) Depression and anxiety in men with sexual dysfunction: a restrospective study. [online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25818906
  6.  The World Journal of Mens Health. (2019) Obesity and Erectile Dysfunction: From Bench to Clinical Implication. [online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6479091/
  7. eMedicineHealth. Surgical Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction. [online] Available at: https://www.emedicinehealth.com/surgical_treatment_of_erectile_dysfunction/article_em.htm
  8. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy. (1991) Psychological treatment of erectile dysfunction in men without partners: outcome results and a new direction. [online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1920469

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