To change gears away from our recent discussion of erectile dysfunction associated with prostate cancer, I will start to discuss the general treatments of erectile dysfunction starting with the very conservative approaches and moving along to medical therapy. Finally, we will discuss the surgical options.
A very important paper was written in 2004 regarding the effects of a healthy lifestyle on erectile dysfunction. This paper was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and came from Italy. In the study, they looked at two groups of patients. One group was given a regimen of healthy diet and an exercise program while the other group (the control group) was instructed not to change their behaviors at all. They followed these patients for a period of time and followed their weight, body mass index, or BMI, cholesterol level and triglyceride levels. What they found was that men who modified their diet not only saw improvement in all of these parameters, but they also witnessed improvement in their erectile function. This makes a strong push for the first line of treatment to be a program of diet and exercise. In most patients this should be done in conjunction with a physician or health care specialist that is aware of your medical conditions and abilities.
The JAMA study, describing the benefits of a healthy lifestyle on erectile function, may be a hard pill for some to swallow. With such effective medicines available, it is very easy to overlook this option of treatment as we become lazy and move right along to the "quick fix." Remember that all medicines have side effects and risks associated with them. Avoidance of these risks can be accomplished (in some, but not all cases) with a little extra effort and motivation.