Despite some added challenges, seniors today can enjoy a healthy and fulfilling love life, but some adjustments to diet and lifestyle habits might be necessary.
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Older men worry about how advancing age will affect their sex lives, or if, in fact, they will even have viable sex lives in their golden years. While things will certainly slow down, most men can look forward to healthy sex lives well into old age, particularly if they take steps to live as healthy a life as possible.
Although male impotence can arise from multiple causes, the vast majority of cases can be attributed to insufficient blood flow to the penis. And such vascular problems can eventually affect your overall cardiovascular health as well. So adopting what has come to be known as a heart-healthy diet is a good place to start.
However, other lifestyle modifications may be needed as well, particularly if you’ve been living a relatively sedentary life up until now. If that’s the case, you need to slowly introduce a program of physical activity into your daily routine. More about that later.
Other obvious lifestyle modifications are important. You should stop smoking, moderate your intake of alcohol, drop those excess pounds, and work with your doctor to manage underlying health problems that may increase your risk of impotence. Such health problems include atherosclerosis, diabetes, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea.
Even if you should eventually find yourself suffering from a persistent pattern of male impotence, it’s not the end of the world. Men in the early 21st century can choose from a variety of treatment options that will allow them to at least temporarily regain erectile function so that they can continue to engage in sexual activity. And medical science is working on still other innovations that may further increase their options in the not too distant future.
What Changes to Expect
While many older men may be lucky enough to avoid a full-fledged diagnosis of male impotence, they will inevitably see certain changes in how they react and perform sexually. No longer will they have the sex drive of a teenager or young adult. It may take longer to become aroused, and even full arousal is unlikely to produce the rock-hard erections they enjoyed in their youth.
There will certainly be occasions when it is difficult to get and keep an erection suitable for intercourse. This happens with younger men as well. However, it is only when such problems become the rule rather than the exception that one should seek medical treatment for male impotence.
Other aging-related changes in male sexuality include a rapid loss of erection after orgasm and a longer waiting time before another erection can be achieved, according to the National Institute on Aging. Although orgasm and ejaculation may be less intense than they were in younger years, they should continue to occur. If they do not, consult your doctor to see what can be done.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Along with a regular regimen of age-appropriate exercise, eating a healthy diet provides a strong foundation for healthy sexual function in both males and females. As previously noted, compromised blood flow to the penis accounts for the majority of male impotence, and this is also the primary cause of cardiovascular disease. Because the arteries supplying the penis are much smaller than those that carry oxygen-rich blood to the heart and brain, male impotence almost always precedes heart attack or stroke.
Thus, eating a diet described as “heart-healthy” will help to prevent the vascular problems that lead to male impotence and also protect you from other forms of cardiovascular disease. Often touted as an ideal diet for cardiovascular health, the Mediterranean diet replicates that of the residents of the Mediterranean Basin. It is high in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats, most notably olive oil. It is low in red meat and usually includes a moderate intake of fish and other seafood.
Get and Stay Active
If you don’t already have a regular program of physical activity, now is the time to get started. Tell your doctor you plan to begin a regimen of exercise, and let him guide you as to what types of physical activity are best suited to your current state of health. Even brisk walking can help to get your juices flowing and stave off the damage caused by a sedentary lifestyle. If you’re not already active, it’s probably best to begin slowly and gradually add to the degree of difficulty as you grow stronger.
Certain exercises focus on the pelvic floor muscles and can improve bladder control and support sexual function as well. MayoClinic.org offers an excellent introduction to Kegel exercises, so called because they were originated and promoted in the late 1940s by gynecologist Arnold Kegel. Although originally designed for use by women, these pelvic floor exercises can do wonders for men as well.
Quit Your Bad Habits
You probably don’t need anyone to tell you what habits are bad for your health. Most of us know intuitively what’s healthy and what’s not. On the “not list” are such habits as smoking, heavy drinking, and an addiction to fast food. It’s also a strain on your body to carry around too much excess weight.
The sooner you can quit these bad habits and trade them in for healthier alternatives, the sooner your body will respond. If necessary, take advantage of smoking cessation products to help you kick the smoking habit. If you’re having problems shedding those extra pounds, your doctor may be able to help.
Talk to Your Partner
If you begin to experience some problems in getting and keeping an erection suitable for intercourse or other forms of sexual dysfunction, talk to your partner about these problems. Together you can try to agree on a course of action that will help restore you to better erectile health and offer an opportunity for your partner to help you achieve this goal.
Trying to keep such problems a secret simply won’t work. Soon enough your partner will realize that you are having problems achieving and maintaining an erection or experiencing some other form of sexual dysfunction. If you don’t discuss such problems candidly, your partner may mistakenly assume that the problem is an indication that you no longer are turned on by her.
Interviewed for an article posted at the Harvard Health Blog, Sharon Bober, director of the Sexual Health Program at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, suggests that couples faced with problems of sexual dysfunction focus more on “outercourse.” This involves a change in the mindset that intercourse is the only satisfactory goal in sex and focuses instead on foreplay and mutual stimulation of your partner. “The emphasis is on intimacy and closeness rather than performance,” says Bober. “This allows men to become less stressed and more engaged in connecting with their partner.”
If You Need Extra Help
For men whose symptoms of impotence appears to stem from compromised blood flow to the penis, the treatment of choice is one of the oral ED drugs known as PDE5 inhibitors, including Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra. To obtain these drugs, you will need a prescription. If you already have one from your doctor, you can fill it at a local pharmacy or opt instead for the convenience of ordering it online. If you decide to go the latter route, consider placing your order with eDrugstore.com, which is a longtime online facilitator that handles PDE5 inhibitors as well as a limited selection of other lifestyle medications.
If you have a doctor’s prescription, you can fax it or scan and email it along with your order to eDrugstore. Alternatively, eDrugstore can arrange an online consultation for you with one of its team of licensed U.S. physicians. If you’re deemed an appropriate candidate for the drug, a prescription will be authorized. To start your order, simply visit eDrugstore.com.