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Erectile dysfunction is reversible for many: study

health and fitness Updated: Apr 01, 2014 12:45 IST
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More and more medications for erectile dysfunction have cropped up over the years following the introduction of Viagra, but in a new study 29% of men were able to reverse the problem without help from medication.

The study focused on erectile dysfunction and general lack of sexual desire among Australian men between the ages of 35-80. It took five years to complete, during which time 31% of the 810 male participants developed erectile dysfunction of some kind.

"Our study saw a large proportion of men suffering from some form of erectile dysfunction, which is a concern," noted Professor Gary Wittert, Head of the Discipline of Medicine at the University of Adelaide and Director of the University's Freemasons Foundation Centre for Men's Health. "The major risk factors for this are typically physical conditions rather than psychological ones, such as being overweight or obese, a higher level of alcohol intake, having sleeping difficulties or obstructive sleep apnoea, and age."

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"The good news is," he added, "our study also found that a large proportion of men were naturally overcoming erectile dysfunction issues. The remission rate of those with erectile dysfunction was 29%, which is very high. This shows that many of these factors affecting men are modifiable, offering them an opportunity to do something about their condition," the professor added.

The study's lead author, Dr. Sean Martin from the University of Adelaide's Freemasons Foundation Centre for Men's Health, said those who find erectile medications necessary would probably find the treatment more effective if they addressed lifestyle issues affecting their condition.

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"Erectile dysfunction can be a very serious issue because it's a marker of underlying cardiovascular disease, and it often occurs before heart conditions become apparent. Therefore, men should consider improving their weight and overall nutrition, exercise more, drink less alcohol and have a better night's sleep, as well as address risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol."

"This is not only likely to improve their sexual ability, but will be improve their cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of developing diabetes if they don't already have it."

The study was published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.