By Tunde Ajaja
Based on findings, one of men’s worst sexual problems is impotence. It is a type of sexual dysfunction characterised by the inability of the man to develop or maintain an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse.
Beyond the fact that it reduces man’s self esteem, it impairs a man’s ability to have sexual intercourse and more importantly, it also reduces the likelihood of the man being able to impregnate a woman. But the good news is that it is curable.
However, given the serious impact it has on the sexual wellness of a man, it is important to point out that there are certain habits that fuel this dysfunction, and these include:
Diet: It should first be noted that the turgidity of the penis is dependent on blood flow and so it is only helpful when people eat the food that would aid blood flow in their system. WebMD, a website that provides valuable health information and tools for managing health, pointed out that the kind of diet or eating pattern that could cause heart attack due to restricted blood flow would also obstruct the flow of blood to the penis, especially when blood flow is needed for the penis to be erect. Therefore, to avoid impotence, men are advised to take fruits, vegetables, fish, red wine, whole grains and heart-healthy fats like nuts. “Anything that is bad for a man’s heart is also bad for his penis,” an associate professor of clinical urology, Andrew McCullough, said.
Obesity: Another factor that can cause impotence is obesity. According to WebMD, overweight is a risk factor for diabetes, which could cause nerve damage in some parts of the body. However, if one of the nerves that have links with the penis is damaged, it could affect the sensitivity of the penis, resulting in erectile dysfunction. Also, diabetes has been found to be one of the endocrine diseases that impede blood flow and that can also affect blood flow to the penis. Also, people that are obese tend to have high level of visceral fat which has been linked to lower testosterone.
Lack of exercise: Exercise has been found to add great benefits to the body, including increased blood circulation in the body. In fact, exercise has been found to boost libido due to the increased blood flow. On the other hand, inactive or deskbound lifestyle has been found to cause erectile dysfunction. However, people are also advised to be cautious of the kind of exercise they engage in and this is because any form of exercise, like cycling, that puts enormous pressure on the area between the scrotum and anus could affect the nerves and vessels that have links with the penis, leading to erectile dysfunction.
Smoking: Previous studies have shown that there are many disadvantages of smoking to the body and in this case, it transcends its negative impact on the lungs to include its enormous impact on the functionality of the penis. Specifically, WebMD pointed out that smoking could harm blood vessels and reduce the flow of blood to the penis. Furthermore, it was found that nicotine, one of the substances in tobacco, could make the blood vessels to contract and in the long run, contract the flow of blood to the penis. An assistant professor of urology and co-founder of the cardiovascular and sexual health clinic at Yale University, Charles Walker, told Healthline that smoking could damage the lining of the blood vessels, which affects the smooth muscle in the penis and inhibits blood from flowing in. Everyone knows smoking is bad for your health, but most people don’t realise there is a direct relationship between cigarette smoking and erectile dysfunction,” he added.
Penile injury: For such a sensitive and important organ, one could be tempted to think that no harm could come to the penis, especially with its location, but there have been incidents of people sustaining penile injury, whether due to rough and uncontrolled sexual activity or injuries sustained from accident. However, injury to the penis has been found to affect its sensitivity. Also, certain injuries to the nerves and arteries in the urethra could result in erectile dysfunction. A specialist in erectile dysfunction, Dr. Irwin Goldstein, told Everyday Health that the main artery to the penis, which supplies the blood needed for erections, is connected to the pelvic bone, thus, extreme force in the pelvic bone region could crush the artery and in effect, lead to erectile dysfunction.
Oral hygiene: This may appear shocking to many, especially when there doesn’t seem to be any link between the teeth and the penis. But according to recent studies, men with gum disease tend to battle with erectile dysfunction. On the other hand, men with erectile dysfunction tend to have gum disease. As it turned out, the researchers told Men’s Health that as the tooth decays, the immune system attacks pathogens in the mouth and then bacteria in the mouth could find their way into the bloodstream, clog blood vessels, including those in the penis. This affects blood flow to the penis and this can lead to erectile dysfunction. However, the way out is to maintain oral hygiene, by brushing the teeth twice daily and flossing regularly.
Stress: This factor sounds like a common issue and many people are familiar with the causes and effects. However, stress had also been found to trigger the secretion of adrenaline hormone, which makes the blood vessels to contract. Thus, reducing anxiety, depression and worries helps blood flow considerably.
Drug abuse: The effect of drug abuse is widespread, but not many would know that the use of certain drugs could impair their sexual functionality or even kill their ability to get aroused. Hence, people are advised to consult a doctor or pharmacist before taking any drug, more so that the drug effect is usually a side effect. And the said drugs include the ones men take to boost their performance or treat erectile dysfunction. So, consult a doctor before using any drug.