Erectile Dysfunction: A Functional Approach
Posted by Catherine Woodlock
Erectile Dysfunction (ED) affects a startling amount of people, and has been for hundreds of years.
10% of people under the age of 40 experience ED, and by the time they are 70 years old, 60% will experience ED. This is incredibly common, and not an easy situation to deal with.
Yet there are so many aspects of health that can be impacting this vital function. It is possible to view the body as a whole and get to the root of the issue before resorting to the little blue pill to achieve the end result.
ED Can Be A Precursor to Cardiovascular Issues
It is important to get to the root of the imbalance, as the disharmony that causes ED is not always isolated to sexual function.
One of the main pathomechanisms is vascular endothelial dysfunction – meaning that the lining of the arteries are hardening, making dilation difficult. This reduces blood flow.
The kicker is that if it is affecting sexual function, it could in the future, affect the rest of the body’s arterial health. Over the long term, vascular endothelial dysfunction can become much more rampant than ED, causing cardiovascular issues such as heart illness, neurological issues and dementia.
There Are Multiple Reasons Why
Both functional and Chinese medicine view the body as a whole, meaning that there could be seemingly unrelated issues that lead to ED. It might be surprising to know that what we eat and how we process our food could be affecting sexual function like this.
Insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, obesity and hypertension are all connected to vascular endothelial dysfunction – which can cause ED. Again, this could be impacting the blood flow to all of the organs, not just the reproductive organs.
What You Can Do:
Inflammation and toxins can also damage the blood vessels and lead to ED. For example, chronic alcohol use can impact the health of the blood vessels.
- Limit processed foods
- Limit sugar and simple carbohydrates
- Choose an anti-inflammatory diet plan
Reduce Alcohol Consumption
Chronic alcohol use can cause short term endothelial dysfunction, which can also lead to a psychological cascade of performance anxiety.
- Reduce alcohol consumption or choose to stay sober
Stress is another huge factor when it comes to arterial health. Stress causes systemic inflammation as well as issues with blood vessel dilation due to excess cortisol levels.
- Engage in mindfulness practice
- Try Acupuncture and counselling to help process stress
Balance Testosterone Levels
Another aspect of the picture is the complex hormonal orchestra that is involved with sexual function – particularly testosterone. Testosterone can have an impact on ED as it impacts the enzyme PDE5 and Nitric Oxide, which are both responsible for allowing the blood vessels to dilate.
As people age, there is a natural decline in testosterone. However, some people can have low testosterone earlier, also known as andropause.
Some things which impact the body’s ability to produce testosterone include sleep apnea, alcohol, diabetes, stress and obesity.
- Mindfulness practice and stress reduction
- Exercise – particularly aerobic activity, HIIT and weight lifting
- Eat healthy fats, they are the precursor molecules that help the body to maintain testosterone levels
As you can see, all of the pillars of health can be a part of the picture when healing ED. This common issue is a complex imbalance with an avenue of healing that will radiate to all aspects of health.
If you would like to find out how we can help you, please feel free to schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation.
Image IG @krisarchielee