Column for Hurriyet Newspaper dated 21.10.2020

Erectile dysfunction or impotence is the inability to initiate or maintain an erection at a level that allows satisfactory sexual performance.

It is a sexual dysfunction affecting millions of men worldwide and it has been found that 52% of men between the ages of 40-70 have erectile dysfunction. In a study conducted in our country, it was found that 69% of erection problems were observed in this age group. It is thought that approximately 16% of men between the ages of 20-75, that is an estimated 152 million men worldwide, have erection problems.

How should it be treated?

Erection problems can develop due to many reasons. But they basically develop due to underlying physical and / or psychogenic reasons. Physical causes consist of circulatory problems, hormonal disorders, some neurological causes or disorders in the penile tissue. It is extremely important to reveal the underlying cause exactly in terms of effective treatment.

Today, for the treatment of erection problems: first of all, if there is an underlying physical or psychogenic health problem, it should be treated. Apart from this, lifestyle changes, oral medications, injection into the penis, shock wave therapy to the penis and penile prosthesis are the treatment methods that are frequently applied.

Can the quality of erection (erection) be increased with natural methods?

Regular exercise: Regular exercise improves the quality of erections by regulating blood pressure, increasing blood flow to the penis, improving mood and increasing endurance. Studies have shown that “Kegel Exercises”, which especially work the pelvic floor muscles, are the most effective exercise method in solving the problem of erection and provide significant improvement in erection quality after 4-6 weeks.

Healthy eating: A heart-friendly healthy diet is extremely important for the health of both the circulatory system and the rest of the body. With a healthy diet, diseases such as heart diseases, vascular occlusion, obesity and diabetes, which are the most important risk factors for impotence, are prevented. The Mediterranean diet, especially rich in vegetables, fruits, olive oil, fish, legumes and whole grains, has been shown to reduce erectile dysfunction and improve erection quality in a comprehensive review published in 2017.

Reducing smoking and alcohol consumption: Smoking is one of the most important risk factors that cause erectile dysfunction by reducing blood flow to the penis. It is also known that alcohol consumption negatively affects erection quality.

Stress reduction: Stress and anxiety have important effects on sexual desire and erectile functions. When stress factors that may be due to health, work, financial or family reasons are eliminated, an improvement can be achieved in the level of sexual performance. If necessary, help should be sought from a psychologist or psychiatrist.

Acupuncture and yoga: There are a few studies showing that this type of alternative therapies increase the quality of erections by reducing stress and anxiety. It should be kept in mind that these types of treatments also have placebo effects.

Natural (herbal) medicines: There are some herbal or natural remedies that are claimed to be used in the treatment of impotence online or in various shops. Scientific circles do not recommend drugs whose content, dosage and components are not known exactly, since their efficacy and safety are unknown.

Some scientific studies have shown that some natural supplements (L-Arginine, L-Carnitine, Yohimbine, DHEA, Ginkgo, Ginseng), which are widely used in the world, improve erection by increasing blood flow to the penis, increasing the level of testosterone hormone or relaxing the pelvic floor muscles. However, the evidence level of many of these studies is low, and there is a need for clinical and experimental studies with a high level of evidence to show how effective and safe the use of such products is in the treatment of impotence.


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