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Common Causes of Erectile Dysfunction (ED) and Treatment

Dr Alice Ojwang is a registered dietician and a lecturer at the Technical University of Kenya. She runs a private practice where she deals with obesity and related risk factors.

What have you found to be the main sexual health concern among men?

Erectile dysfunction, which is one of the four types of sexual dysfunction, is the most common concern I have noticed in my practice dealing mostly with overweight and diabetic patients.

It is a type of arousal disorder characterised by the inability to get an erection, inability to maintain a full erection long enough to satisfy your partner or reduced sexual desire.

Any other concerns or disorders?

The other categories of sexual dysfunction are desire disorders, which affect interest in sex, orgasm disorders, which involve the absence of orgasm or delayed orgasm, and pain disorders; which involve pain during intercourse, which may be caused by Peyronie’s disease (physical damage to the penis), infections like UTIs, prostatitis and yeast infections, genital herpes and skin conditions.

What would cause erectile dysfunction?

A poor lifestyle can affect one’s sexual desire; if you do not sleep well, take water, or exercise, you are tired and fatigued. Some of the drugs used to manage blood pressure may have the side effect of reduced libido and erectile dysfunction.

Heart disease, clogged blood vessels, high cholesterol, metabolic syndrome, and uncontrolled diabetes, affect the blood vessels and could ultimately lead to erectile dysfunction.

Do men know that their lifestyle is causing erectile dysfunction?

Not usually. People are shy to talk about their sexual health. As a dietician, one of the first questions I always ask my male patients is; “Do you have a normal sexual function?” If they do not, it could be an indication of a bigger problem to come.

This is because the blood vessels to the penis are smaller compared to the blood vessels to the heart and other major organs. If the blood vessels to the penis are blocked, causing erectile dysfunction, it is a sign that the other blood vessels are in the process of getting clogged and could lead to a heart attack.

What does your book, Nutrition and Your Sex Health address?

The book on sexual health and nutrition is a simple, easy-to-understand guide on the causes and solutions to erectile dysfunction. In the book, I educate on diet and include a weight loss plan for those trying to manage their weight to achieve normal sexual activity.

Is there any food known to boost sexual health?

There are certain foods known to be aphrodisiacs like groundnuts. However, it is your lifestyle that you should focus on. If you are just taking aphrodisiac foods and not treating the root cause, what good does that do you?

Other than a change of lifestyle, is there a medication you recommend to treat erectile dysfunction?

I do work with urologists and endocrinologists who prescribe medicine to help manage certain conditions. However, the medication is a short-term solution, and you still need to deal with the underlying condition, say weight gain, as a permanent solution.

Let us look at an instance where a man has a big stomach caused by weight gain. Though they can get an erection, the positioning during sex alone is a problem. They have a problem with oxygen circulation. They have difficulty breathing as the fat is pushing on their lungs, making it difficult to breathe.

Exercise has been touted as one of the ways to improve sexual health. What level of activity should one maintain to reap these benefits?

The level of activity depends on how active the person has been. You cannot ask someone who has a sedentary lifestyle to go to the gym, not if you want them to be consistent.

You start them off by asking them to brisk walk for about 10 minutes, then increase it to 20 minutes, to reach 45 minutes a day or 10,000 steps. After six months, then you increase the challenge by asking them to train for a 5km or 10km marathon depending on their achievements.

How to make the aphrodisiac juice

Ingredients:

½ watermelon

½ pomegranate

10-12 strawberries

½ lemon

½ lime

Method:

In a blender, add pomegranate and watermelon including the seeds and blend till liquefied. Add lime, lemon and strawberries and blend. Pour the juice into the bottle and store it in the refrigerator.

Drink 1/3 cup of the juice in the morning on an empty stomach and before dinner. This healthy and natural juice will improve the blood flow incredibly in your intimate part and will help you to perform better in the bed. This mixture can be used by anyone, as it has no side effects.

Strawberries: Are rich in Vitamin C and improve sperm quality.

Watermelon: Citrulline in watermelon clams down your blood vessels and produces arginine and creates Nitric Oxide. Nitric Oxide plays a vital role in your sexual life as it increases your emotions and gives you a stronger erection.

Pomegranate: Increases your energy levels. It is rich in antioxidants that increase blood flow through your genital area.

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