Impotence. The word somehow sounds like failure or weakness. If you feel that you are impotent, you may also feel that you have somehow lost part of your dignity, your masculinity, your wholeness. But you shouldn’t feel that way — impotence, also known as erectile dysfunction (ED), can almost always improve with treatment. In this article, we’ll talk about the causes of erectile dysfunction (impotence) and some home remedies, including medical and non-medical solutions for the problem.
There are many degrees of erectile difficulties. Some men are able to achieve an erection but are not able to maintain it. Others become erect, but not extremely rigid.
Still, others only have problems when they are with a new partner or with a long-time partner. And there are those who cannot achieve an erection at all.
Do not despair. You may be suffering from a medical or emotional problem (or both) for which there are definite solutions. Behavior modification can help if your ED is the result of emotional issues. If it is caused by a medical condition — and some 70 percent of ED cases are — there are new therapy, couples therapy, and home remedies that can help restore your sexual health.
Whatever the nature of your problem, remember that almost every man has difficulties with erection at some point in his life: About 5 percent of 40-year-old men and between 15 and 25 percent of 65-year-old men experience it. You are not abnormal, nor are you alone. There is no need to suffer in silence.
A variety of medical conditions can cause or contribute to erectile dysfunction, also known as impotence. The most common diseases that cause ED are diabetes, kidney disease, chronic alcoholism, multiple sclerosis, atherosclerosis, vascular disease, and neurologic disease. These diseases account for about 70 percent of ED cases, according to the National Institutes of Health. Between 35 and 50 percent of men with diabetes experience ED. In younger men, accidents, such as gunshot wounds to the spinal cord, car crashes, and skiing wipeouts, are often responsible. Other problems can include hormonal imbalances.
Doctors treat ED with psychotherapy, behavior modification techniques, oral medications, locally injected drugs, vacuum devices, and surgically implanted devices. In rare cases, surgery of the blood vessels may be necessary, according to the NIH. (Keep in mind that even when a physical cause can be identified, emotional or psychological factors often play a role as well.)
Oral medications include Viagra (sildenafil) and Levitra (vardenafil), which work by enhancing the effects of nitric oxide, a chemical that increases blood flow in the penis. These drugs are taken about an hour before sexual activity. They should not be used more than once a day, and men who take nitrate-based drugs such as nitroglycerin for heart problems should not use them because they can cause a sudden drop in high blood pressure.
If you suspect your erection difficulties may be related to a disease, accident, or medication or if you’re simply unsure of the cause, contact your doctor.
If you suffer from impotence or erectile dysfunction (ED), don’t let embarrassment keep you from sexual health and happiness.
Try some of the natural remedies and home remedies for Erectile Dysfunction (ED) Known as “Impotence” below, but if the problem doesn’t resolve, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.
Check your prescriptions
A variety of medications can cause ED, including blood pressure drugs, antihistamines, antidepressants, tranquilizers, appetite suppressants, and cimetidine, an ulcer drug. Ask your doctor or pharmacist whether any of the drugs you take could be contributing to ED. If one of the medications you take has ED as a side effect, your doctor may be able to prescribe a different one.
Remove the performance demand
It’s not unusual for a man to have an occasional episode of ED — after drinking alcohol or after a particularly stressful day, for example. However, if he places too much emphasis on the incident and harbors fear that it may happen again, the anxiety itself may become a cause of erectile difficulties. Behavior modification can help with this, though. One strategy that sex therapists often use is to have couples abstain from intercourse altogether, telling them instead to engage in cuddling and nonsexual touch. Gradually, over a period of weeks or months, depending on the couple, the partners work toward more sexual touching, then intercourse. The idea is to make sex a less-threatening experience.
Break out of a rut
Add some spice to your lovemaking: Go to a hotel or a different setting. Vary the routine. Try new positions. Buy your partner some new lingerie.
Learn to relax. Stress, arising either from performance anxiety or from other life situations, can exacerbate ED. Regardless of the cause, it’s difficult to enjoy yourself when you’ve got too much on your mind. Try relaxation exercises such as deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation, where you consciously tense and relax each part of the body in sequence.
Express your feelings
Marital or relationship difficulties are notorious contributors to sexual problems. Anger, resentment, and hurt feelings often spill into a couple’s sex life, turning the bedroom into a battlefield. This situation is especially likely to develop if partners don’t communicate. Work to share your feelings with your partner. Use “I” statements, and keep the focus on your feelings, instead of your partner’s actions. Doing a thorough housecleaning of the relationship, instead of storing up emotional debris, may very well clear the way for a healthier sexual union.
Talk about sex
Sometimes, erectile problems occur because you simply don’t feel aroused. In these cases, sex therapists often work to help patients communicate more openly about their sexual relationship — what they like, what they don’t like, whether they’d like to do some experimenting. Again, to avoid defensiveness and hurt feelings, “I” statements are key. Choose to make assertive, rather than aggressive, comments.
Don’t drink before sex
Drinking alcohol or being drunk can significantly impair your sexual functioning.
Remember your successful experiences
If performance anxiety has undermined your confidence, thinking about positive sexual relationships or experiences you have had in the past may help boost your self-esteem. It may also convince you that you can have a fulfilling sex life in the future.
Involve your partner
Although erectile difficulties originate with the man, they are a couple’s problem and have a couple solutions. If the problem is not a medical one, there are many strategies, such as the ones discussed in this chapter, which can help. However, your chances of improvement are much better if your sexual partner is involved in the solution.
Know that you are not abnormal
It can never be stated enough: Having problems with an erection does not mean that you are physiologically or psychologically abnormal in any way. It is not your fault and you shouldn’t feel guilty or allow your self-esteem to suffer.
Take advantage of the many sources of information about sex
— books that can help you and your mate solve your problems and work towards a more mutually satisfying sex life, as well as sex manuals and even videos.
Skip the aphrodisiacs
Spanish fly and other so-called aphrodisiacs are usually little more than placebos — sugar pills that do nothing but boost your confidence. What’s more, the Spanish fly can be very dangerous to use and can even be fatal. Avoid alternative or herbal remedies.
Many men with erectile problems engage in “spectatoring,” or constantly observing their own sexual performance. This takes the individual out of the moment and leads to being overly critical. Instead of judging yourself, focus on the pleasures of being with your partner. Fantasizing about and with your partner can take the focus off you.
Performance anxiety is just that — anxiety over performing for your partner. But don’t forget that while it’s important to please your partner, you’re also there to please yourself. Masturbation — bring yourself to orgasm while you are alone — may be helpful by reteaching you how to achieve your own pleasure (as long as it’s not overdone). The next step is to bring that ability into a sexual situation with your partner. In this way, you can change the focus from performance to mutually pleasurable interaction.
Don’t be afraid to seek help
If your ED has no medical cause, psychological issues may be involved. Guilt, shame, anger, fear, sadness, and other emotions can impair your ability to perform sexually. Help is available from therapists who specialize in sexual issues. Ask your doctor or urologist for a referral.
Impotence or erectile dysfunction (ED) has many causes, medical and otherwise. You can help prevent this condition with the following home remedies:
Quit smoking. Studies have shown that smoking is associated with blockages in the blood vessels of the penis that obstruct the blood flow necessary for an erection. If you smoke, quit. It won’t reverse existing damage, but it can help prevent it from worsening.
Protect your crotch from injury
One very common cause of ED, especially in young men, is an injury to the crotch area. Often, these injuries (and the erectile problems they cause) do not heal of their own accord and must be treated with surgery. Crotch injuries can be caused by sports such as bicycling, karate, horseback riding, and rodeo riding. If you believe that your erectile difficulties were caused by such an accident, you should see a doctor.
Make sure your aim is true
Believe it or not, another cause of ED is . . . brace yourself . . . a broken penis. This type of injury — which is thankfully quite rare — can occur when your partner is on top, your penis slips out of her vagina, and she sits on it. This can actually cause a hole in the erection chamber, along with bruising and swelling from internal bleeding. When this happens, you’ll need surgery to repair the hole.
When struggling with ED or impotence, remember that many home remedies or treatment options are available to you. Don’t let embarrassment keep you from treating this disorder.