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Before you pop a Viagra: 7 Natural ED remedies

May 14, 2024
By Daniel Dinenberg

Clinical Editor: Megan Dodson, PA-C

Many factors can contribute to erectile dysfunction (ED) — anything from smoking to cardiovascular disease to general stress — and you shouldn’t be shy about discussing any erectile problems with your doctor. If there’s an underlying health condition causing your troubles, treating the cause may get you back to top form in no time.

Of course, these days we also have a variety of medications available to help men achieve and maintain an erection. But before you pop a pill, try these natural tips for sexual health.

1. Ditch the cigarettes

Smoking causes arteries to become stiff, which can have the opposite effect on your erection. Decreased blood flow to your sexual organs can make it difficult to achieve an erection.

2. Watch what you eat

It can’t be stressed enough — a healthy diet and lifestyle has numerous benefits, including in the bedroom. ED is linked to cardiovascular disease and diabetes, so eating a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains can reduce your chance of developing heart problems and, in turn, can alleviate your ED.

3. Get moving

Studies have shown that engaging in aerobic exercise may treat erectile dysfunction. Additionally, regular aerobic exercise in combination with a healthy diet will reduce your chance of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes — which is good for your sexual health.

4. Supplement your libido

There are several herbs and supplements that have been reported to improve libido and erectile dysfunction symptoms. These include maca, tribulus, rhodiola, ginseng, omega-3s, DHEA, and L-arginine. There isn’t a lot of scientific evidence to support these claims, and when you buy those products from the internet or a retail store, you have no real way of knowing what you’re ingesting. If you’re interested in trying them, talk to your healthcare provider first to see whether they’re safe for you. Make sure to tell your healthcare provider all the medications and herbs and supplements you’re already taking, as many of these may have interactions with other herbs and supplements.

5. Don’t forget the foreplay

Make no mistake: foreplay matters. Choose a setting that promotes intimacy and communication with your partner, which can reduce performance anxiety. Take time to warm up and get into the mood.

6. Find your zen

We live in a society that expects high performance in every aspect of life — including sex. If you’re having erectile dysfunction issues, practice stress-reducing techniques every day so you can relax and enjoy intimacy without worrying about your performance.

7. Get quality shut eye

Sometimes low libido or sexual dysfunction can occur due to low testosterone levels. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you need a testosterone supplement. Your body needs downtime to convert precursor hormones into testosterone. If you’re burning the candle at both ends, your body may not be able to produce as much testosterone. So rest, relax, and allow your body to build up its testosterone stores.

Originally published October 27, 2014

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Daniel Dinenberg

Dan practices a unique blend of conventional and holistic medicine, drawing on his extensive experience with integrative techniques like healing touch, guided imagery and yoga. By fostering an understanding of the deep connections between body, mind and spirit, Dan seeks to help every patient unlock his or her own innate healing ability. He received his MD from the Hahnemann College of Medicine and completed his residency in family practice through UCSF. Dan is a fellow of the Wilderness Medical Society, is a clinical instructor at UCSF, and is certified with both the American Board of Family Medicine and the American Board of Holistic Medicine. Dan is a One Medical Group provider and sees patients in our San Francisco offices.

The One Medical blog is published by One Medical, a national, modern primary care practice pairing 24/7 virtual care services with inviting and convenient in-person care at over 100 locations across the U.S. One Medical is on a mission to transform health care for all through a human-centered, technology-powered approach to caring for people at every stage of life.

Any general advice posted on our blog, website, or app is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace or substitute for any medical or other advice. 1Life Healthcare, Inc. and the One Medical entities make no representations or warranties and expressly disclaim any and all liability concerning any treatment, action by, or effect on any person following the general information offered or provided within or through the blog, website, or app. If you have specific concerns or a situation arises in which you require medical advice, you should consult with an appropriately trained and qualified medical services provider.