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Alternative Medicine and Treating Erectile DysfunctionAn estimated 30 million men are afflicted with Erectile Dysfunction, otherwise known as ED, according to the American Foundation for Urologic Disease. Out of these 30 million, it is estimated that 50-70% are over the age of 40.
ED is a sexual dysfunction characterized by an inability to develop an erection, or maintain one for any extended period of time. There are many reasons one may develop ED, ranging from physiological issues such as cardiovascular leakage and diabetes, to psychological challenges stemming from relationship issues and feelings of inadequacy. While many men keep quiet about their sexual issues due to strong cultural impressions, research has shown that one in ten men will experience erectile dysfunction at some point in their lives.
With the introduction of Viagra and various surgical and non-surgical forms of treatment for ED, many are finally speaking up and seeking medical attention for their disorders. Unfortunately, many of these remedies offer undesirable side effects, are costly, and often only mask the symptoms, especially when caused by psychological reasons.
In addition to medical and psychological treatments, there are many nutritional supplements, herbal remedies and lifestyle changes that can improve ED.
Nutritional supplements such as vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, selenium, bioflavonoids and the amino acid arginine (also known as L-arganine, which can be found in protein rich foods) have been used to improve ED. Also, DHEA has been given to ED patients low in DHEA with much success, although most medical experts do not recommend DHEA due to a lack of long-term safety testing.
Herbal remedies have been known to improve ED symptoms, from Asian ginseng, gingko biloba and yohimbe, to saw palmetto (Serenoa repens), which is known to help the body to preserve testosterone levels. Lesser known herbs that have benefited ED in at least one study are: Mucuna pruriens, Muira Puama, Turnera diffusa, Suma root and Catuaba bark.
Studies have proven that simple lifestyle changes can have a positive effect on ED. Reducing alcohol consumption, eating fruits and vegetables, quitting smoking and increasing exercise to improve circulation are natural and healthy habits that can not only improve ED symptoms, but can also optimize overall health. Stress reduction techniques, such as meditation, visualization and acupuncture, can also be helpful.
Medical Advice When using vitamin supplements and herbs for treating ED, it is still important to speak with you doctor or herbalist about the possible side effects and known drug interactions of your chosen herbs. Please seek the direction of a qualified medical practitioner.
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