Official: Exercise can help erectile dysfunction (in rats)!

A new study suggests that hitting the gym could help men avoid diet-induced erectile dysfunction.

Christopher Wingard and his colleagues at East Carolina University used rats put on a "junk food" diet to test the effects of aerobic exercise.

They found that exercise effectively improved both erectile dysfunction and the function of vessels that supply blood to the heart.

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For 12 weeks, the researchers fed a group of rats chow that reflected the Western diet, high in sugar and with nearly half its calories from fat. Another group of rats ate a healthy standard rat chow instead.

Half of the animals in each group exercised five days a week, running intervals on a treadmill.

At the end of the 12 weeks, anesthetized animals' erectile function was assessed by electrically stimulating the cavernosal nerve, which causes an increase in penile blood flow and produces an erection.

The researchers also examined the rats' coronary arteries to see how they too responded to agents that would relax them and maintain blood flow to the heart, an indicator of heart health.

The findings showed that rats who ate the Western diet but stayed sedentary developed erectile dysfunction and poorly relaxing coronary arteries.

However, those who ate the diet but exercised were able to stave off these problems.

Animals who ate the healthy chow were largely able to avoid both erectile dysfunction and coronary artery dysfunction.

The study is published online in the American Journal of Physiology: Regulatory, Integrative, and Comparative Physiology.

What is erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction (ED) aka impotence is the inability to develop or maintain an erection of the penis during sex. Impotence is different from infertility. While impotence is the inability to maintain an erection, infertility is the inability to father children. An erection is caused by the hydraulic effect of blood entering and being retained in spongy bodies within the penis. ED can be caused by alcohol consumption, smoking, diabetes, medicinal side-effects or obesity. Some psychological issues which can cause ED include stress, depression, performance anxiety or low self-esteem.

How to beat erectile dysfunction?

Prescription medications such as Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra all treat the condition. All three of these medications work the same way, by helping increase blood flow to the penis. The medications are taken a half hour before sex and the effects can last from 4 to 5 hours. However these drugs all have serious side-effects and it is important to talk to your doctor and discuss your entire medical history before taking any of these drugs. As a last resort there is a surgical procedure which involves the implantation of a prosthetic device in the penis. A similar method is used in female-to-male sex change operations.

ED due to psychological reasons can be overcome by visiting a psychiatrist who can help us get to the root of the problem. We usually find the notion outrageous, that we discuss our sex life with strangers, but professional help is the best way to deal with the condition. And lastly the best solution is the simplest talk to your partner about it.

With inputs from IANS

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