Experts have for long warned about the dangers of lifestyle diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease, arising from poor nutrition, alcohol and lack of physical activity. But, one lifestyle-linked problem that does not receive enough attention is Erectile Dysfunction (ED). Although there is a growing awareness about ED, most people believe that it is a condition that only affects those who are old or consume alcohol and smoke on a daily basis. These factors do contribute to ED, but there are other factors that negatively impact our body in multiple ways, including increasing the risk of ED.
Stress and anxiety
Research shows that long-term stress and anxiety increases the levels of certain hormones in the body, which interfere with the processes, that help people get an erection. If you are struggling with continuous stress and anxiety, your brain’s signals to the penis and the required blood flow are both interrupted, and it causes ED. It is important to keep in mind that your emotional and psychological state of mind has a big role to play in your sexual health.
Long hours at the desk
Long hours of physical inactivity reduce blood circulation to the penis, leading to gradual compression of nerves and blood vessels in the area. As a result, there is an impaired blood supply to the penis during sexual activity, making erections difficult. Sitting continuously for 7 to 8 hours a day is bad for your health in so many ways, and some experts say this sedentary situation is equivalent to smoking a full pack of cigarettes a day!
Too much junk food
Excessive consumption of junk and fast foods, such as colas, sugary foods and desserts, processed meat and deep-fried snacks, lead to a buildup of ‘bad fat’ in the body. This increases the risk of hormonal imbalance and obesity, and slows down the body’s metabolic rate, which in turn increase the risk of developing ED. Foods considered healthy and known to reduce ED risk include fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, eggs and fish.
Excess belly weight
Excess belly fat disturbs the normal ratio of the hormones testosterone and estradiol, which in turn increases the estrogen levels in men. This imbalance leads to a host of secondary health issues, a common one being erectile dysfunction.
Poor sleep patterns
Yes, even your sleep patterns can affect sexual health and cause erectile dysfunction. People who work long night shifts – particularly those on US timings – are found to be at a higher risk of ED. These long work hours disturb the body’s natural biological clock, disrupting the body’s hormonal balance. As a result, the body produces less testosterone, which leads to an increased risk of erectile dysfunction.
BPA in plastic food packaging
Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a chemical substance found in plastic food packaging and sometimes in the inner lining of cans used for processed and preserved food. Research shows that consistent exposure to BPA inhibits sex hormones, increasing the risk of ED and decreasing male sexual desire. Prolonged exposure also increases the risk of infertility. The dangers of BPA are only just being recognized, but you should be aware of this since it is still being used in plastic containers to home-deliver food.
No one would have probably imagined that wearing tight underwear or trousers could actually result in a problem like ED. But, tight clothing can reduce blood supply and air circulation to your genitals. If this happens on a regular basis for long durations, the production of testosterone is affected. Lack of testosterone is directly linked to sexual dysfunction, and so ED is often a result of this.