Thirteen years ago, men were reluctant and ashamed to come out and mention the words erectile dysfunction or impotence. The inability to have and maintain an erection was a stigma they had to hide from friends and family and the price they had to pay was enormous. But in 1998 everything changed as the diamond-shaped blue pill called Viagra hit the market. Suddenly, everyone was listening about the erectile dysfunction on the evening news and about how the blue pill changed the lives of millions of men in a blink of an eye. Now there are three medications approved to treat this dysfunction.
How do these pills work?
Sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), and vardenafil (Levitra) work by increasing levels of nitric oxide, the chemical that helps dilate blood vessels in the penis and keep them dilated so you can have and maintain an erection. The major difference between the three is how long they take to begin working. Although Viagra is the most popular, it does not have the fastest effect. According to recent studies, Levitra works in as few as 10 minutes and remains effective for up to 12 hours and doctors recommend Cialis and not Viagra in case of a romantic gateway because one dose continues working for up to 36 hours. On the other hand, Viagra is said to actually prevent impotence once you stop using the drug. German researchers studied 112 impotent men who took 50 milligrams of Viagra every night or 50 or 100 milligrams as needed for a year. After six months with no treatment, 58.3% of the men who took nightly Viagra had normal erections without any medication, compared to only 8.2% of those who used the drug as needed.
However, even if you are familiar with these drugs, you should know that making simple changes to your lifestyle may help to prevent the problem in the first place. Here’s what you need to know to prevent taking drugs for erectile dysfunction:
Have a Mediterranean diet. Greeks and Italians are known for their active sexual lives since ancient times but things didn’t changed in moderns times. Nowadays, they are known as the most virile men in the world and they surely don’t have problems in the bedroom, not even when they are older. Italians made a study on 100 men with erectile dysfunction and 100 men without it and concluded that those whose diets most closely matched a Mediterranean diet were significantly less likely to be impotent. Researchers speculate that the reason is probably the anti-inflammatory effect of the diet as the Mediterranean diet is rich in healthy monounsaturated fats from foods like olive oil and based on plenty of fruit, vegetables, nuts, legumes, whole grains, and fish.
Practice a sport or rediscover an old one because sports and exercise are not just good for your muscles but for your erections too. Men who become more physically active in middle age have a 70% lower risk of impotence compared with men who are couch potatoes. In fact, researchers have found that practicing a sport reduces the risk of impotence even more than quitting smoking, losing weight, or drinking less alcohol.
Stop smoking. In general, smokers don’t care about protecting their heart and lungs but maybe the threat of ruining their sexual relationships could determine men to throw their cigarettes away for good. According to a study made on 7,684 Chinese men, smoking probably accounted for about one in five cases of erectile dysfunction. The more you smoke, the more likely you are to have problems. The study also found that smoking just 20 cigarettes a day increased the risk by 60% compared to not smoking at all because smoking constricts blood vessels and leads to the buildup of plaque, both of which reduce blood flow.
Finally yet importantly, maintain normal blood sugar levels as according to several studies, half of all men with diabetes have erection problems, which is twice the rate of men without the disease.