The drug market for erectile dysfunction (ED) is valued at somewhere north of $4 billion. For a variety of economic reasons, that number is expected to shrink in coming years.
But another reason drug sales may go down, is that new scientific evidence suggests simple behavioral changes can reverse the problem.
Researchers in Australia found that a number of surveyed men were able to ward off ED symptoms by doing one or more of the following: improve nutrition, exercise more, drink less alcohol or get a better night's sleep. The researchers found addressing risk factors like diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol also helped men struggling with ED.
Health researchers periodically surveyed 810 men, aged 35 to 80, over a five-year period to learn more about problems with erectile dysfunction and sexual desire. During that period, 31 percent of study participants developed some form of erectile dysfunction. That's the bad news.
"Sexual relations are not only an important part of people's wellbeing," explained Professor Gary Wittert, head of the Discipline of Medicine at the University of Adelaide. "From a clinical point of view, the inability of some men to perform sexually can also be linked to a range of other health problems, many of which can be debilitating or potentially fatal."
"The good news is, our study also found that a large proportion of men were naturally overcoming erectile dysfunction issues," Wittert added. "The remission rate of those with erectile dysfunction was 29 percent, which is very high."
Wittert says the results of his and his colleagues' study shows erectile dysfunction is reversible, with or without drugs. Even when drugs are necessary, Wittert points out, lifestyle changes can improve their efficacy.
What's more? Wittert says simple behaviors like eating better and exercising will do more than improve sexual ability, they "will be improve their cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of developing diabetes if they don't already have it."
[University of Adelaide]