The following lifestyle changes may help you during treatment for erectile dysfunction:

  • Manage your medical conditions
  • Talk to your doctor about changing medications
  • Maintain a healthful diet, weight, and exercise program
  • Quit smoking
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs
  • Support
  • Maintain the intimacy in your relationship

Erectile dysfunction may be caused by chronic diseases of the lungs, liver, kidneys, heart, nerves, arteries, or veins. With your doctor’s help, you can manage conditions that could affect your ability to have an erection, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and depression.

If you suspect that your medications may be the problem, ask your doctor about changing or adjusting them. Medications for the following conditions have side effects that are associated with erectile dysfunction:

Eat a healthful diet , one that is low in saturated fat, sugars, and simple carbohydrates, and high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and omega-3 fatty acids. This will also help you to maintain a healthy weight.

Begin and stick to a regular exercise plan. Choose exercises you enjoy and will make a regular part of your day. Strive to maintain an exercise program that keeps you fit and at a healthy weight. For many people, this includes walking or participating in an aerobic activity for 30 minutes a day. Exercise also can help you manage stress. Check with your doctor before starting any exercise program.

Tobacco damages blood vessels, including penile arteries. Talk to your doctor about how you can successfully quit smoking.

Excessive use of alcohol or other drugs such as cocaine, amphetamines, marijuana, or opioids often cause a decrease in sex drive or erectile dysfunction.

Psychological factors, such as stress, anxiety, and depression, can affect sexual function and be the primary cause in many men. Counseling can help you manage or prevent these emotions and conflicts. Couples counseling may also be helpful.

Dealing with erectile dysfunction can be hard on a relationship. Sexual intercourse is a means of creating intimacy. There are other ways to create this level of intimacy with your partner. Explore different things you can do together to bring you closer, such as taking a bath, sharing a candlelit dinner, taking a long walk, holding each other in bed, and talking and listening. It is important to keep the lines of communication open.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrienne Carmack, MD
  • Review Date: 03/2018 -
  • Update Date: 03/15/2015 -