Person seeing advice from a medical doctor.

Benefits of Combined Short- and Long-Term Approach to Treating ED

Viagra and the other erectile dysfunction drugs usually can offer immediate relief from the symptoms of male impotence. However, don’t overlook the importance of making lifestyle changes to improve your overall health and vascular function for the long haul.


After a few months of difficulty getting and keeping an erection, you’ve finally scheduled an appointment with your doctor to see what can be done.

If your doctor is a good one, and most are, he or she will tell you that Viagra or one of the other oral erectile dysfunction drugs can probably offer you immediate relief from your ED symptoms — albeit temporarily. In other words, with the help of one of these ED drugs, you’ll be able to enjoy a relatively normal sex life.

Case closed? Hardly. Relying solely on ED medications to regain a semblance of normal erectile function is just a short-term solution to your problem. In fact, many men who start out with 50 milligrams of Viagra, the recommended starting dose, find that after a few years that dose no longer gets the job done.

They then start taking 100 milligrams of the little blue pill, and for a while, that works like a charm, just as the lower dose did a couple of years back. But time passes, and before long, you begin to have erection problems even after taking 100 milligrams of the drug, which is the most you can safely take in a 24-hour period.

Relying solely on short-term treatment with Viagra or another of the ED drugs known as PDE5 inhibitors is a dead-end road when it comes to treating male impotence. While those drugs can help you to continue to enjoy sexual activity over the short haul, they do nothing to address the long-term implications of your disorder. For that, you’ll need to dig deep to address and modify the lifestyle behaviors that led to your problems in the first place.

Like Heart Disease and Diabetes

Comprehensive treatment of ED combines short-term therapy with Viagra or another PDE5 inhibitor with changes in your lifestyle to undo some of the damage that has been done over the years.

In this respect, this dual-pronged approach to treating ED is analogous to the treatment prescribed for men and women with coronary artery disease or diabetes. Certain medications can help to prevent a heart attack or insulin shock, staving off an immediate health crisis, but you’ll also have to change your ways dramatically to mitigate the damage you’ve done to your body. And it’s that damage that has led you to the brink of disaster.

Calendar with a broken cigarette.

Set a day to kick the smoking habit and stick to it.

Kick Those Bad Habits

Usually, the first order of business in lifestyle modification is ridding yourself of unhealthy habits, such as smoking, drug abuse, and overindulgence in alcohol.

Smoking has a devastating effect on vascular function in your body, and it is blood flow — or the lack thereof — that’s at the heart of roughly 80 percent of all ED diagnoses. According to a Japanese research study, the nicotine from tobacco damages your body’s endothelium, the thin layer of cells that line the inner wall of arteries. Endothelium plays a key role in erectile function because it regulates blood flow. Damaged endothelium can no longer function at optimal levels, and blood flow to the penis is impaired. Once you’ve stopped smoking, the resilient endothelium can begin to bounce back and function as it’s supposed to do.

Substance abuse with both illegal street drugs and certain prescription medications can have a seriously negative effect on erectile function. If you can’t kick your drug habit on your own, ask you doctor to refer you to someone who can help.

A drink or two can help to set the mood for romance, but if you exceed the limits of moderate alcohol consumption, you could very well find yourself unable to perform at all. And if you find it impossible to moderate your drinking habits, it may be indicative of an underlying alcohol problem, in which case avoiding alcohol altogether is probably your best bet.

Adopt an Active Lifestyle

If you spend most of your working hours sitting behind a desk and then go home to lie on the couch to watch TV, yours is a decidedly sedentary lifestyle. And to get that blood pumping and increase respiration, you should take up a regular regimen of physical activity.

Don’t jump into a full-fledged exercise program without first consulting your doctor to get expert input on how best to go about it. But failure to do so could be injurious not only to erectile function but to your overall health as well. According to a previous post on our blog, research has found that men “who sit for six hours or more per day face a significantly higher risk of dying earlier than those who sit for three hours or less per day.”

While a combination of aerobic exercise and weight (resistance) training is ideal, you can get started slowly by taking a brisk walk of 30 minutes or so every day. As you grow stronger, you can gradually add other exercises to your routine to make it as well-rounded as possible.

Man eating a salad.

Eat a healthy diet to improve vascular function. 

Eating a Healthy Diet

Far too many men who suffer from ED today ate their way to impotence with diets that consisted of little more than fast food and refined sugars and starches. The high level of saturated fats in fast food increases your risk of atherosclerosis, a buildup of fatty plaques on the walls of arteries. This so-called hardening of the arteries compromises blood flow and increases the risk of not just ED but heart attack and stroke as well.

It’s important to remember that not all fats are bad for you. In fact, olive oil, which is an indispensable part of the so-called Mediterranean diet, is one of the healthiest fats there is. Neither olive oil nor the Mediterranean diet will cure your ED, but together they can help minimize the disorder’s symptoms and improve your overall health.

For those who are unfamiliar with the Mediterrean diet, it is based on the traditional foods consumed by people living in the Mediterranean basin. According to, the diet “is typically high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and olive oil.” The diet’s intake of red meat is very limited, but it does include moderate amounts of fish and poultry, as well as dairy products and eggs.

Healthy eating is hardly confined to the Mediterranean diet, but it does serve as a model for healthy eating. Any diet that’s relatively rich in its consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, relies on beans and legumes for a fair share of its protein content, and very low in saturated fats would be a good start.

Shed That Excess Weight

If you are carrying around more weight than you should, you probably won’t need a scale to alert you to that fact. Your body tells you. Consequently, that extra weight puts an undue burden on all your vital organs, particularly your heart, which is hard-pressed to pump blood throughout your outsized body.

Shedding those extra pounds, preferably in a doctor-supervised weight-loss program, can help to improve erectile function, not to mention your overall health.

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Ordering from eDrugstore can save you time and money. No more trips to and from the pharmacy and no more waiting for your prescription to be filled. And if you don’t have a doctor’s prescription, eDrugstore will schedule a complimentary online consultation with a licensed U.S. doctor who can authorize a prescription if appropriate. To learn more, visit eDrugstore’s Erectile Dysfunction page.

Don Amerman has spent more than three decades in the business of writing and editing. During the last 15 years, his focus has been on freelance writing. For almost all of his writing, He has done all of his own research, both online and off, including telephone and face-to-face interviews where possible. Don Amerman on Google+