Erectile dysfunction is a relatively common concern among men. The condition affects a large percentage of the male population.
A study by Cleveland Clinic1 revealed that an estimated 52% of men have some symptoms associated with erectile dysfunction.
The prevalence of this condition has been rising steadily over the past few years. One contributing factor could be the increase in treatment options. This leads to more men coming forward with their problems in the bedroom.
Several treatments have been suggested for erectile dysfunction. While Viagra is often advised, an alternative option with fewer side-effects is available too. Some publications suggest magnesium might help with erectile difficulties.
Research is still limited regarding this subject. Some evidence suggests the use of magnesium for ed, however.
We look at the evidence behind these claims in this post. We also consider potential treatment options that are effective for men with erectile problems.
What Is Erectile Dysfunction?
There are many factors involved in the process of an erection. Both physiological and psychological factors come into play when a man has an erection. It starts with mental stimulation. This part of the process depends on an adequate sex drive.
Once stimulated, the brain would signal muscles in the penis to open. This causes blood vessels to dilate in the penis. The result is an increase in blood flow into the penis. As blood enters the penile chambers, the penis itself becomes rigid – leading to an erection.
Erectile dysfunction is a condition where a man struggles to get and maintain an erection. Some men will find that they cannot achieve an erection at all. There are, however, some cases where a man can still achieve an erection. In these scenarios, the man may not be able to maintain the erection. His pens will go from rigid to soft while he is participating in sexual intercourse.
A lot of men only experience mild symptoms of erectile dysfunction. The condition may not affect them every time they have sex. There are scenarios where erectile dysfunction can completely inhibit a man’s ability to have an erection too.
Risk Factors Of Erectile Dysfunction
There are several reasons for erectile difficulties to develop in a male patient. It is crucial for men to understand the causes and risk factors. This helps them determine their own risk of erectile dysfunction.
This information can also help a man determine steps they need to take to reduce their risk of erectile problems.
Blood flow is critical for an erection to occur. When there are problems in a man’s body that causes a restriction in blood flow, the risk of erectile dysfunction becomes greater. This is why cardiovascular disease is often rated as one of the primary risk factors behind erectile dysfunction.
In fact, some studies suggest that erectile difficulties can sometimes even be a predictor of certain heart diseases2.
The study links explicitly erectile dysfunction symptoms to the possibility of coronary heart disease.
Other risk factors that men need to take note of include:
- Diabetes: Diabetes causes damage to nerves and can interfere with the physiological actions required for an erection to occur. Studies indicate that diabetes is linked to a number of potential adverse effects related to the sexual health of a patient3. Several sexual dysfunctions may be experienced in men with diabetes. This includes erectile dysfunction. Problems with the man’s libido may also develop.
- Hypertension: Men with hypertension are also at a higher risk of erectile dysfunction. High blood pressure causes several problems in the body. Chronic high blood pressure causes damage to blood vessels. This can affect the blood vessels in the penis. The result may be issued with a man’s ability to have a normal erection.
- Obesity: Obesity is another important risk factor that needs to be noted. There are several studies that have shown a link between erectile dysfunction and obesity. One study4 explains that erectile dysfunction is exceptionally common among male patients who are obese.
- Low testosterone: When testosterone levels are low in the male body, there is a risk for erectile dysfunction too. Testosterone has no direct impact on a man’s erectile function. It does, however, contribute to blood production and may affect blood flow. This is due to the increased nitric oxide production experienced with healthy levels of this hormone. Testosterone also affects male libido. Low libido in men can contribute to erectile difficulties. One study5 explains there is a definite connection between low testosterone and erectile problems.
- Depression: also plays a role. It is important to remember that erectile function has both physical and mental factors. Depression can cause a decline in sex drive. In turn, this may contribute to erectile dysfunction.
Other factors that can also play a role in the risk of erectile dysfunction include:
- Chronic stress
- Age also plays a role
- Medication that treats hypertension
- Medication that treats depression
- Certain sleep disorders
- The use of illicit drugs
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- High cholesterol levels
- Hormonal imbalances
- Kidney disease
The Link Between Magnesium And ED
Magnesium is one of the essential minerals that a person needs to consume on a daily basis. The body itself does not make the mineral. This means it needs to be obtained from food sources.
Many foods contain magnesium. It is generally relatively easy to obtain enough magnesium on a daily basis for the average man. In cases where a lack of magnesium is present, supplements can be used. This can help to increase the amount of magnesium in the male patient’s body.
The mineral plays a variety of roles in the human body. It helps with the synthesis of proteins. Magnesium intake is also essential for the functioning of both nerves and muscle tissue. Furthermore, magnesium also contributes to the proper regulation of blood glucose and blood pressure levels.
People who are deficient in magnesium may suffer from certain health problems. A magnesium deficiency has been linked to:
- High blood pressure
- Arteries may become clogged
- A higher risk of diabetes
- There may be an increased risk of suffering a stroke
- A person is also more likely to develop osteoporosis
Some publications suggest that there may be a link between magnesium and erectile dysfunction. While these suggestions have been made, it does not seem like scientific studies have backed up such claims.
There is, however, evidence that magnesium could improve other areas of sexual health in men.
This brings us to a study published in the BJU International Journal6. The study was initially conducted in 2006. The idea of the study was to see whether or not magnesium would have any impact on ejaculatory problems in men. Premature ejaculation was the main focus area of the study.
The researchers found that there might be a positive association between magnesium and premature ejaculation. Higher levels of seminal plasma magnesium seemed to reduce the severity of premature ejaculation. A total of 38 men participated in this study. A total of 19 participants complained about premature ejaculation at the start of the study. The other 19 participants did not experience premature ejaculation.
One study7 also showed that magnesium could potentially improve testosterone levels. This was only the case in patients who had a low level of magnesium in their bodies. As previously mentioned, testosterone does seem to play a role in erectile function.
The evidence is relatively limited. This might suggest that men with both low magnesium and low testosterone could benefit from these supplements.
Side Effects Of Magnesium
Magnesium is essential to the body’s general health. It is a safe mineral that we need for protein, muscle health, nerve function, and more. How a person gains magnesium, however, does seem to play a role.
When consuming magnesium from food, the body can tolerate the mineral effectively. When there is an excess amount of magnesium, the liver will expose the excess minerals. This makes it unlikely for a person to take too much magnesium. At least, risks will not be faced with excessive consumption of magnesium-rich foods.
Things are not the same when using a magnesium supplement. The synthetic type of magnesium used in these supplements can cause side-effects. This is generally the case with an overdose of magnesium.
Gastrointestinal side-effects are common in men who take magnesium supplements. This may cause diarrhea. Some men may also feel nauseous. In some cases, stomach cramps may also occur.
Excess magnesium supplementation with these products can also be harmful to men with existing kidney disease.
Treatment Options For Erectile Dysfunction
There are many ways that erectile dysfunction can be effectively treated. It is essential for men to understand all their options. Some treatments are more effective than others. At the same time, some side-effects come with certain treatment options.
Men can compare the treatments that are available to them. Personal factors should be taken into consideration, including risks that they face. This will help the patient identify the safest option for them to experience normal erections.
A lot of men consider medical intervention their primary option. There is a medicine that can help to relieve the symptoms of erectile dysfunction. Some commonly prescribed drugs for ED include8:
- Viagra (Generic name: Sildenafil)
- Cialis (Generic name: Tadalafil)
- Stendra (Generic name: Avanafil)
- Levitra (Generic name: Vardenafil)
These drugs do hold potential. They can effectively stimulate an improvement in erections. They also come with unpleasant side-effects, however.
Side-effects of Viagra and other pharmaceutical drugs that treat ED may include:
- Back pan
- Muscle pain
- Runny nose
- Stuffy nose
- Upset stomach
- Abnormal vision changes
There are also more serious side-effects that have been noted in male patients. The risk of the patient needs to be taken into account before deciding to use these drugs for ED.
Lifestyle factors can have a significant impact on erectile function. An unhealthy diet and a sedentary lifestyle contribute to obesity. These factors also cause high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and other conditions.
With some lifestyle changes, it is possible to reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction, possibly. Men with existing symptoms may also experience improved erectile function with the right lifestyle changes.
A healthy diet is one of the first changes that should be made. Secondly, adequate exercise is also critical. The combination of these two strategies helps to fight against obesity. The strategies will also help to reduce blood pressure, improve blood sugar control, and reduce the risk of heart disease. These factors all contribute to better erectile function.
A few natural supplements might also be helpful for men with erectile dysfunction. These supplements may help to improve blood flow. They could also stimulate sex drive. These effects might make the male patient experience better erections during sex.
A few herbal ingredients to look for include:
It should be noted that some of these supplements may also cause side-effects. A man should do careful research to find the right supplement for them.
Erectile function is a critical factor in allowing a man to perform in the bedroom. For some men, gaining an erection can be difficult. In some cases, an erection cannot be maintained. Treatments are available for men who experience erectile dysfunction. Some medicines used to treat the condition can cause unpleasant side-effects.
Some publications have suggested the use of magnesium for erectile dysfunction. Unfortunately, there is limited evidence regarding these claims at the moment. We looked at the current evidence regarding magnesium and sexual health. We also considered other treatment options that men may consider.