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The inability to achieve or sustain an erection and/or an inability to ejaculate, is known as erectile dysfunction (ED), or impotence. The condition is common among men over 40, where about 5 percent will experience ED and rates increase with age. Men with chronic illnesses, low testosterone, those taking certain medications or alcohol users may increase their chances to experience ED. Other causes can include emotional instability, exhaustion, injury or damage.
Erectile dysfunction can be situational, when the occurrence may be related to a recent event, but repeated experiences should be discussed with your doctor. Failure to perform 20 percent of the time or less is common among adult men, but higher rates may signal an underlying problem. Young men who experience ED can often relate the condition to underlying health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, and side effects of certain drugs and medications. Psychological trauma can also be the cause ED in men under 40 and treatment may involve counseling.
Erections normally occur when a man is stimulated mentally or physically. Reading sexually suggestive books, looking at photos in men’s magazines or dwelling on sexual fantasies also trigger an erection. Physical contact with potential sexual partners should have the same reaction as the brain transmits signals to the penis. A complex process that involves blood flow, enzymes and the nervous system team up to produce erections. Any problems with the participating factors can prevent a man from achieving erections or affect his ability to ejaculate.
Erectile Dysfunction (ED) Treatments
Treatments for impotence vary with the cause and only a doctor can suggest medical options based on the underlying cause of the erectile problem. Options for physical causes can include drugs such as sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), avanafil (Stendra) and vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn). Other treatments include the use of alprostadil (MUSE) by injection or suppository, penis pumps, constriction bands and implants.
Natural remedies can act as supplements to other treatments or as part of an overall health plan. Supplements known to improve erectile function include carnitine, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, horny goat weed and others. Foods that aid in blood circulation and/or reduce stress are also effective in improving erectile function. For example, the pomegranate (fruit, juice or supplement) is thought to be very effective in treating and preventing erectile dysfunction.
Every health food store, nutrition center and even the big box stores sell fresh pomegranates and juices. This amazing super-food is a bit difficult to eat, so men should consider taking pomegranate supplements for ED when they don’t have the time to eat the fruit. Supplements offer the same benefits, are easy to consume and they support long-term use.
Several university studies have examined pomegranate’s ability to fight disease progression for men with prostate cancer and its benefit as a treatment for erectile dysfunction was originally discovered as a valuable side effect. Long-term use provides the most significant results, and the health benefits reach beyond fighting prostate cancer and treating ED.
In addition to fighting prostate cancer and treating ED, pomegranate benefits can include potentially reducing PSA levels, killing breast and lung cancer cells while preventing deterioration of cartilage and inflammation (valuable in preventing and treating arthritis). Additionally, pomegranate products help lower cholesterol and high blood pressure, improving heart health. Pomegranate can also aid in weight management, exercise recovery and diabetes management. The pomegranate is also credited with playing a role in slowing the development of Alzheimer’s disease, boosting the immune system, and improving overall health with antioxidants, fiber, potassium, niacin and vitamins.
The benefits of pomegranate are hard to ignore, so everyone should take advantage of the many benefits, and add daily doses to their diets. The fruit has a pleasant taste, and can be mixed with other juices or sparkling water to create a real treat!
For more information on men’s health see prostate.net.
Azadzoi KM et al. Oxidative stress in arteriogenic erectile dysfunction: prophylactic role of antioxidants. J Urol 2005; 174:386-93
Forest CP et al. Efficacy and safety of pomegranate juice on improvement of erectile dysfunction in male patients with mild to moderate erectile dysfunction: a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind crossover study. Intl J Impot Res 2007; doi: 10.1038/sj.ijir.3901570
Pantuck AJ, et al. Phase II study of pomegranate juice for men with rising prostate-specific antigen following surgery or radiation for prostate cancer. Clin Cancer Res 2006; 12:4018-26