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Erectile dysfunction (ED) affects at least one in five men over 60 and can lead to depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. And, unfortunately, the list of problems that can lead to the condition is long and varied, leaving many men to feel as if their bedroom performance is doomed.
However, the truth is that the more you know about what contributes to erectile dysfunction, the more you can do to prevent the problem and improve sexual prowess and function.
In fact, there are three often overlooked causes that could be behind your bedroom boredom…
#1 – Diabetes
A recent study, led by the University of Exeter and the University of Oxford, looked at data on more than 220,000 men across three cohorts, 6,000 of whom experienced erectile dysfunction.
Using cutting-edge genetic analysis, the team was able to delve deeper than ever before into the complex correlations between diabetes and aspects including body weight. They found that having a genetic predisposition to type 2 diabetes was linked with ED, providing evidence that diabetes can be a cause of erectile issues.
Dr. Anna Murray, of the University of Exeter Medical School, co-lead author on the study said: “Erectile dysfunction affects at least one in five men over 60, yet up until now little has been known about its cause. Our paper echoes recent findings that the cause can be genetic, and it goes further. We found that a genetic predisposition to type 2 diabetes is linked to erectile dysfunction. That may mean that if people can reduce their risk of diabetes through healthier lifestyles, they may also avoid developing erectile dysfunction.”
In other words, if you take steps to control your blood sugar through proper diet and exercise, you may be able to avoid ED altogether.
#2 – Poor sleep
According to Dr. Geo Espinosa, the Director of the Integrative Urology Center at New York University Langone Medical Center and the Chief Science Officer at Prostate Research Labs, lack of quality sleep is a significant cause of erectile dysfunction.
In fact, one study found that men with ED were more than twice as likely to have obstructive sleep apnea (the most common type of sleep apnea which causes your airways to collapse during sleep, keeping you awake and leaving you exhausted) than men with no sexual dysfunction.
While another study found that almost 65 percent of men with this sleep disorder also lived with erectile dysfunction.
This means that if you want to overcome erectile dysfunction, you must first address any health problems that are preventing you from getting the quality sleep you need.
#3 – Vitamin deficiency
According to Craig Cooper, an “Ambassador” for the global men’s health foundation “Movember,” one vitamin deficiency, in particular, has been shown to lead to erectile dysfunction – a deficiency in vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin.
That’s because a deficiency of vitamin D promotes endothelial dysfunction (a problem with the inner lining of your blood vessels). And, when your vessels can’t supply enough blood flow to the penis, erection problems are the result.
In fact, a study reported in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that almost 46 percent of men with arteriogenic ED (a condition where the arteries don’t supply enough blood to the penis to support an erection) were deficient in vitamin D.
And, it found that men with severe or complete ED had much lower levels of the vitamin compared to men with only mild erectile dysfunction issues.
So, if you want to prevent or alleviate your ED problems, you need to optimize your D levels by getting more sunshine each day or taking a quality vitamin D3 supplement.
Erectile dysfunction can seem unbeatable but if you know the causes behind the condition, it’s a fight you can win. Prevent ED by controlling your blood sugar, getting more and better sleep and address any deficiency in vitamin D. And, if you’re experiencing erectile dysfunction, talk to your doctor about these health concerns.
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- Erectile Dysfunction and Depression — WebMD
- Depression and Erectile Dysfunction — Cleveland Clinic
- Convincing evidence that type 2 diabetes is a cause of erectile dysfunction — American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)