What Your Hips Can Tell You About Your Emotions

The Powerful Connection Between Your Hips and Your Emotions

Medically reviewed by Joslyn Jelinek, LCSW — Written by Julianne Ishler on June 17, 2021

This article is a repost which originally appeared on Healthline

Edited for content

Our Takeaways:

· Hip tightness can lead to pelvic floor disorders

· The core muscle often implicated in hip misalignment is the psoas group deep within the core

· Poor posture can lead to emotional stress and fatigue

Perhaps you’ve heard your yoga teacher refer to the hips as the body’s emotional junk drawer.

While folded over in pigeon pose, you may have wondered if there’s any truth to this statement.

It turns out, the answer is pretty incredible.

To get the link between the hips and emotions, understanding the mind-body connection is key.

When you’re stressed, your emotional and physical health can both suffer. People with trauma or other mental health conditions like anxiety and depression often experience physical symptoms as well.

Through it all, there may just be a common link: the hips.

Of course, each body is different. Where one person holds stress in their body may not be exactly the same for another.

However, neuroscience and somatics point to the hips as a potential storage vessel of emotions. They also offer a window into emotional healing. Here’s how.

Getting to know your hips

To look at how the hips can store emotions, it’s important to first understand their function and anatomy.

The hip is the area on each side of the pelvis. The joint itself is one of the largest and most unique joints in the human body, responsible for bearing weight, stabilizing the core, and moving the upper leg.

The tighter your hips are, the less mobility your body has. This can result in pain and hinder daily activities like walking and climbing stairs. Tight hips can also cause an anterior tilt of the pelvis which results in poor posture and misalignment of the head and neck.

This goes to show how important the hips are when it comes to how the entire body functions.

The big story within the hips revolves around the iliopsoas muscle— a deep muscle group located toward the front of the inner hip.

The psoas is the deepest support of our core, according to Martha Eddy, a leading somatic educator, author, and founder of Dynamic Embodiment.

“The pelvis is full of our creative, reproductive organs and contains the centrally located psoas muscle that connects the upper and lower body (the breath and diaphragm to the legs) making the core of our body important both physically and emotionally,” Eddy says.

Many types of pain can be linked to a dormant or tight psoas muscle, especially because it stabilizes the spine and affects posture. In this case, your lumbar spine may lose its natural arch by becoming overly flattened or overly curved.

According to a 2021 study, prolonged sitting is one of the main causes of limited hip extension and the associated pain and discomfort.

In fact, poor posture is linked to depression, fatigue, stress, and headaches.

Stress and the body

Here’s the interesting part: Nestled into the psoas are the kidneys, responsible for filtering toxins in the body, as well as the adrenal glands, which control the fight, flight, or freeze response.

This is how we begin to understand where emotions come into the picture.

The fight, flight, or freeze response is your body’s natural reaction to perceived danger. When you’re under any kind of mental or emotional stress, your psoas muscle responds by tightening.

Eddy notes that even after the stress is gone, the tension may still linger in the body and hip area, contributing to things like headaches and lower back pain.

“When someone is really traumatized, certainly the hips are an area that’s holding it,” Eddy says. “That gut pain and fear make you curl up and hide, so you’re going to be contracted.”

How emotions get stored

Neuroscience also offers a look at how emotions become stored in the body.

In 1985, neuroscientist Candace Pert found Source that small proteins known as neuropeptides activate the circuits linked to emotions.

She famously stated that “your body is your subconscious mind,” and that the physical body can change depending on what we’re feeling.

Pert’s research suggests that emotions are electrochemical signals that carry emotional messages throughout the body. They are then expressed, experienced, and stored within the body and mind.

This can influence activity in the brain and change the cell to either have a positive or negative effect on the body.

Pert’s work proposes that each cell carries a kind of consciousness that stores memories and emotional states.

Current research supports this as well.

A 2021 study noted that cell consciousness can be explained by the presence of nano brains and that cells are “highly sensitive” and respond to sensory stimuli as well as internal and extracellular electromagnetic fields.

The researchers concluded that eukaryotic cells, or the cells that make up plants, animals, fungi, and single-celled organisms, are “cognitive and intentional.”

The link between the emotions and the hips

Because of this research, we can begin to understand the relationship between the emotions and the body.

According to a 2019 study, certain emotions are associated with specific areas of the body. Interestingly, these correlations are universal across cultures and sex assigned at birth.

A 2017 study noted that emotions are associated with specific organs in East Asian medicine. The study also noted that East Asian medicine uses “somatic” language when referring to emotional disorders, while Western medicine prefers “neural” language.

This implies that both lenses may be useful in understanding emotional health.

Considering the psoas link to the fight or flight response, it’s understandable that stress might get “trapped” there.

Furthermore, the hip region is associated with the sacral chakra, an energetic center believed by some to house creative energy and sexuality. It’s also linked to how you relate to your emotions and the emotions of others.

A blocked sacral chakra is said to lead to emotional instability as well as reductions in pleasure. When the hips are tight and contracted, it’s possible that sacral energy that’s not expressed remains stuck.

“Your body is your subconscious mind.”

— Candace Pert, neuroscientist

Ways to release old emotions in the hips

There are several ways to release fear, trauma, and stress associated with tight hips. These include:

  • somatic exercises
  • yoga
  • stretching
  • mind-body practices
  • massage
  • somatic experiencing therapy

Somatic exercises

Somatics offer a way to enhance the mind and body connection.

These body-awareness practices involve focusing on your inner experience as you perform intentional exercises.

Somatic exercises include:

  • rolfing
  • shaking
  • Body-Mind Centering
  • Alexander Technique
  • Feldenkrais Method
  • Laban Movement Analysis

Eddy notes the importance of movement for releasing held emotions. By expanding your internal awareness, you can listen to the cues your body sends about where you may be storing stress or imbalance.

In her work through Dynamic Embodiment, Eddy also focuses on movement as a way to activate the lymphatic system to aid the transit of white blood cells throughout the body.

When it comes to the hips specifically, Eddy says the key is to get the spine moving.

“You want to contract and lengthen [the psoas] and get it moving like an accordion,” Eddy says, emphasizing full body involvement. “Not just with the leg but with the whole spine.”

Eddy notes that African dance is a wonderful way to create fluidity as it involves the movement of the entire spine. She also recommends sideward movements like twists and rotating the body to activate the psoas.

Yoga, stretching, and mind-body practices

Practicing yoga is another way to release tension in the hips and get the full body moving.

Some good options include:

  • sun salutations
  • pelvic stretches
  • hip flexor stretches

The flowing postures and synchronistic breathing of sun salutations help move the spine and open up hip flexors.

In addition, pelvic stretches like a ground bridge with pelvic tilt can be therapeutic if you’re experiencing psoas pain.

There are also plenty of hip flexor stretches and exercises you can add into your daily routine, such as lunges and seated butterfly stretches.

Other practices that can aid releasing tension and increasing the mind-body connection include:

  • qi gong
  • tai chi
  • aikido
  • dance
  • Pilates

Massage the arch of the foot

Eddy notes that the arch of the foot correlates to the psoas muscle in reflexology. You can tell the state of your psoas by observing the arch alone, she says.

“If you’re massaging your foot and this arch in the foot is collapsed, then you might have an overstretched psoas, or if it’s really held tight, you might have a tight psoas,” Eddy says. “Working this lateral arch of the foot in reflexology means you’re going to be working with the lower back or down [in the hips].”

By applying pressure to the arch of the foot, which is where the psoas and adrenal glands spots are located, you can also release some of the tension in your hip area.

Listening to your body

Through somatic experiencing, a type of therapy that emphasizes the mind-body connection, you can learn to notice and make peace with bodily sensations.

Working through the pain and physical symptoms can help you get in touch with their underlying psychological causes.

“That work is embodiment work, it’s where you sense it, you feel it, you then also move from it,” Eddy says. “And then either embracing it, working with it, or negotiating with it to make changes…whatever the cause, it will reveal itself in its deepest level.”

Takeaway

If you experience stress and anxiety regularly, get acquainted with how it feels and where it may be held in your body.

While you might notice and talk about your experience with a mental health professional, it’s another thing to use movement to release stored tension.

The hips are an important storage vessel of emotional stress because of the psoas’ link to the adrenal glands and the location of the sacral chakra.

Next time you’re in yoga class doing hip-opening postures, you might just notice that there’s a lot more going on than just a simple stretch.

Healthline has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

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Medically reviewed by Joslyn Jelinek, LCSW — Written by Julianne Ishler on June 17, 2021

8 Ways to Boost Your Natural Testosterone

By David Thompson Jan 06, 2022 12:20 PM EST

This article is a repost which originally appeared on NATURE WORLD NEWS

Edited for content

A normal testosterone level for a man ranges from 264 and 964 nanograms per deciliter. Low testosterone can have a number of adverse health effects, including low libido, fatigue, hair loss and weight gain. There are medications that can increase your testosterone. However, many of these medications come with risks.

That is why it is best for you to try to boost your testosterone naturally. You can implement the following lifestyle changes to boost your testosterone.

Get Plenty of Sleep

A lack of sleep can cause a hormone imbalance. Testosterone is one of the hormones that can get out of whack if you do not get enough sleep. There have been studies done to confirm that your testosterone levels drop when you do not get enough sleep.

One study was done by the University of Chicago. It involved 10 men who were 24-years-old. They slept for eight hours for one week while at home. They then slept in the lab for the next 11 days. After that, they only slept for five hours for eight days.

The researchers found that the men’s testosterone levels dropped by 15 percent when they only got five hours of sleep. Keep in mind that a man’s testosterone only drops by one or two percent per year due to the natural aging process.

That is why it is important for you to prioritize getting the right amount of sleep. You need seven to eight hours per day. If you do not get enough sleep, then you should talk to your doctor.

Follow a Healthy Diet

A nutritious diet is important for maintaining a healthy testosterone level. You should avoid dieting because this can cause an imbalance in your hormone levels. You should eat plenty of whole foods so that you can get the right balance of proteins, carbohydrates and fats.

In reproduction and bodily functions, free testosterone is just as effective as bound testosterone. To determine if they are within the recommended quota, it is important to test their levels. They are essential for the body to connect with its testosterone receptors. A fractional reduction in this hormone could cause reproductive problems and impairment of primary bodily functions, such as muscle development.

Lose Weight

Studies have shown that obese men are more likely to suffer from low T. In fact, a study published in “Clinical Endocrinology” that showed that obese males who are between the ages of 14 and 20 have 50 percent less testosterone.

Stay Active

Being active can naturally boost your testosterone levels. You should try to exercise every day. However, it is important for you to avoid overdoing a good thing. If you are too active, then it can actually decrease your testosterone levels. That is why it is common for athletes to suffer from low testosterone.

Stress

Stress is something that we all have. It is impossible to completely avoid stress because it comes with living. When you are stressed, your cortisol levels are higher. This can impair your metabolism and immune system response. If you have too much cortisol, then your testosterone levels will be lower.

Vitamins And Supplements

Vitamin D is one of the supplements that can help you increase your testosterone levels. There have been studies that have linked low testosterone levels to vitamin D deficiency. In addition to taking a supplement, you can increase your vitamin D levels by spending at least 15 minutes in the sun. You can also eat fortified cereal, milk and salmon.

DHEA is a hormone that your body needs in order to produce testosterone. Your DHEA levels tend to decrease as you get older. DHEA supplements may help your body produce more testosterone.

If you are deficient in magnesium, then taking a supplement can help your levels return to normal. A zinc deficiency can also cause your testosterone levels to drop. Additionally, there has been evidence to suggest that creatine can increase testosterone. It is also found in tuna, beef and salmon.

Review the Medications That You Take

It is important for you to look at the side effects of the medication. Low testosterone may be a side effect of the medication that you are taking. If you think that your medication is causing you to experience low testosterone, then it is a good idea for you to talk to your doctor. Your doctor can either adjust your medication or switch you to one that does not affect your testosterone levels. Do not stop taking your medication or adjust your dosage without talking to your doctor’s first.

Do Not Abuse Alcohol or Drugs

If you abuse drugs and alcohol, then your testosterone levels can drop. They can also cause serious damage to the cells in your body. That is why you should avoid drugs completely. If you drink alcohol, then you should avoid overdoing it. Do not have more than two alcoholic beverages per day.

Does testicular cancer affect fertility?

Testicular Cancer Will Not Stop You From Experiencing Fatherhood: Tips From Fertility Expert Treatment of testicular cancer may affect hormone levels in men and cause infertility. So, it is advisable to consider consulting a fertility expert before you go for any treatment.

Written by Editorial Team | Updated : December 24, 2021 6:16 PM IST

This article is a repost which originally appeared on TheHealthSite

Edited for content

Cancer impacts the body physically and mentally in many ways. Treatment of cancer can also impact fertility among both men and women. While breast cancer and cervical cancer are common among women, men are affected by testicular cancer. With the correct treatment, testicular cancer can still be cured and, you may still have a chance to become a father.

What is testicular cancer?

Testicular cancer is a condition in which cancerous cells develop in testicles among men. In most cases, men only develop cancer in one testicle. However, in rare cases, both the testicles can be affected.

Symptoms of testicular cancer

  • Heaviness in the scrotum
  • Painless lump or swelling in either of the testicles
  • Fluid in scrotum
  • Dull pain in lower abdomen/groin
  • Chest pain, phlegm, and breathlessness (in later stages)

Risk factors of testicular cancer

  • Age: Testicular cancer mainly affects younger men between 15-35 years of age.
  • Family history: If anyone in your family has a history of testicular cancer, you stand at a higher risk.
  • Race: Testicular cancer is much more common among white and non-Hispanic men.
  • Infertility: Infertile men are more likely to develop testicular cancer.

Does testicular cancer affect fertility?

Treatment of testicular cancer can affect hormone levels in men and cause infertility. If cancer develops only in one testicle, the other one works normally and releases enough testosterone to lead a healthy life. However, if both the testicles have to be removed, you will have to take testosterone in the form of monthly injections to maintain normal levels in the body. Therefore, removing one testicle does not usually cause infertility among men. However, chemotherapy can cause infertility for some time during and after the treatment. It may also cause permanent damage to fertility among a few men. Chemotherapy can also reduce your sex drive for some time. Usually, if there is one testicle left, men can conceive after cancer has been treated or two years after chemotherapy is finished.

What options do men have?

According to a study, most men who suffer from testicular cancer can conceive biologically. Sperm banking is a good option for men in case of infertility caused by testicular cancer. Even if your chances of getting infertile are low, your physician will advise you for sperm banking, if you wish to conceive later in life. Before any cancer treatment, you can store your sperms so that they are not damaged due to radiation or chemotherapy.

Sperm banking is also a great option for boys who have passed puberty and wish to conceive a few years later. Sperms can be stored for longer periods.

Also, orchidectomy or removing a testicle will not affect your chances of conceiving, until your other testicle is healthy.

Whether you have less or high chances of being infertile after treatment of testicular cancer, you should always consider consulting a fertility expert before you go for any treatment. A fertility specialist will suggest you options like using a donor sperm.

How to prevent testicular cancer?

Many of the known risk factors of testicular cancer cannot be prevented. Because of this, testicular cancer cannot be prevented. Also, most of the cases are found accidentally. Therefore, men should examine their testicles, starting from puberty. See what feels normal, especially after a shower and bath. Consult with your physician if you notice any signs and symptoms of testicular cancer.

The article is contributed by Dr Lavanya R, Fertility Specialist, Nova IVF Fertility, Whitefield, Bangalore.

Xiaflex’s Odd ‘Bent Carrot’ Ad Sparks Penile Health Awareness

An Ad About Penile Health Has Added New Meaning to the Term ‘Bent Carrot’

Xiaflex’s first campaign offers a healthy visual

By Leonardo Faierman

November 17, 2021

This article is a repost which originally appeared on ADWEEK

Edited for content.

A new pharmaceuticals ad is prompting conversations surrounding its eyebrow-raising use of a slightly misshapen root vegetable.

Prescription medication Xiaflex’s first-ever TV ad, titled “Bent Carrot,” recently prompted some awareness of Peyronie’s Disease, a condition stemming from repeated injuries that leads to a significantly bent or curved penis. The spot sees a man and woman in a kitchen, standing before a stack of carrots. The topmost carrot is prominently bent, which elicits notably concerned glances from the couple.

While the carrot serves as a mild metaphor for Peyronie’s Disease, the remainder of the spot goes on to break down the cause and treatment of the condition, a regimen that includes injections and, per the ad, “daily penile-stretching and -straightening exercises.”

“We’re bringing awareness and education about treatment to consumers—part of Endo’s long-standing commitment to addressing men’s health issues,” said Thomas Kolaras, senior vp and general manager of Medical Therapeutics at parent company Endo, in a statement.

“Through this eye-catching, multi-channel campaign, we’re encouraging men with possible signs of Peyronie’s Disease to start a conversation with a urologist about their symptoms and about whether Xiaflex could be an option.”

The root (veggie) of the message

Of course, the symbolic produce, which the brand hopes will help destigmatize the condition, allows Xiaflex to safely advertise the product on various platforms. Still, the minute-long spot’s juxtaposition of the bent carrot along with its frank suggestions of targeted stretching and exercises has drawn some colored commentary online.

“What exactly are “stretching and straightening” exercises,” one YouTube commentator jokes. “My husband thinks I’ve lost my mind because I laugh every time this commercial comes on.” Another commentator—this time on Twitter— notes that the bent carrot might not “convince anyone,” likely referring to the seriousness of the condition.

In addition to TV, “Bent Carrot” is also currently airing digitally and on radio and audio streaming platforms.

 

Can Specific Foods or Diets Boost Your Testosterone Levels?

Can Specific Foods or Diets Boost Your Testosterone Levels?

What you eat or drink may affect levels of the male sex hormone, but whether a diet can increase libido or energy depends on many things.

By Randi Hutter Epstein, M.D.

Published Nov. 2, 2021Updated Nov. 3, 2021

This article is a repost which originally appeared on The New York Times

Edited for content.

Can I increase my testosterone levels through the foods I eat? And if so, which foods or diets work best?

Many men, particularly as they age, are concerned about their levels of testosterone, the male sex hormone touted to build muscle, sex drive and vigor. But individual foods are unlikely to have an impact on testosterone levels — though drinking excessive amounts of alcohol might. If you are overweight, altering your diet to lose weight may help, since carrying excess pounds is a common cause of low testosterone. But in terms of specific foods or diets, any uptick you achieve may not have a noticeable impact on libido, energy or muscle mass.

“If someone was not overweight, I wouldn’t put them on a specific diet to raise testosterone based on the data we have now,” said Alexander Pastuszak, an assistant professor of urology and surgery at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, who co-authored a review on alternatives to testosterone therapy.

In men, normal testosterone levels range from 300 to 1,000 nanograms per deciliter of blood. Ups and downs within that normal range are unlikely to have any impact on sex drive or vitality. Only when levels consistently drop below 300 points — as confirmed in two blood tests by an accredited laboratory — are symptoms like low libido, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, low mood or loss of muscle mass likely to appear, a medical condition known as hypogonadism.

Starting at around age 40, men’s testosterone levels start to decline by about 1 percent per year. But the drop can vary tremendously, with some older men maintaining levels similar to healthy young men. The trajectory of falling testosterone is steeper among men who gain a lot of weight, said Dr. Shalender Bhasin, professor of medicine at Harvard and the director of the Research Program in Men’s Health: Aging and Metabolism at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Studies on foods or diets and testosterone levels have generally been small and the findings far from conclusive. A recent British review that pooled data from 206 volunteers, for example, found that men on high-fat diets had testosterone levels that were about 60 points higher, on average, than men on low-fat diets. Men who followed a vegetarian diet tended to have the lowest levels of testosterone, about 150 points lower, on average, than those following a high-fat, meat-based diet. Still, Joseph Whittaker, the lead investigator and a nutritionist at the University of Worcester in Britain, said he would not recommend a man increase the fats in his diet unless he had low testosterone levels and symptoms of low T and was already restricting fats.

Another study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research tested two styles of diets in 25 fit men between the ages of 18 and 30. Calories consumed were the same, but one group ate a high-fat, very-low-carb, ketogenic-style diet, consisting of 75 percent of calories from fats, 5 percent from carbohydrates and 20 percent from protein. Men in the other group ate a more traditional Western style, low-fat diet, containing 25 percent of calories from fats, 55 percent from carbohydrates and 20 percent from protein. After 10 weeks of eating the high-fat diet, testosterone increased by 118 points, on average, while after the low-fat diet, levels declined by about 36 points.

Similarly, a study of 3,000 men found that those who reported eating a low-fat diet had slightly lower testosterone levels — about 30 points lower — than men who ate higher-fat diets. But none of the men had low testosterone.

“The moral is that healthy men who are of normal weight with no significant comorbidities are unlikely to benefit from restrictive diets,” said Dr. Richard J. Fantus, one of the study’s authors and a urologist at NorthShore University HealthSystem in Evanston, Ill.

Diet studies are complicated, because changing one component of the diet, such as fat intake, alters so many other things, such as the amount of carbohydrates, protein and micronutrients consumed. It’s unclear which component of the diet may have prompted the hormonal changes, Dr. Bhasin said. Furthermore, testosterone levels may also be shaped by how much a person sleeps, or whether they are jet-lagged, or if they are eating most of their calories at night or in small meals throughout the day.

Dr. Faysal Yafi, chief of the division of Men’s Health and Reconstructive Urology at the University of California, Irvine, says his patients who opt to follow specific diets tend to start exercising more and drinking less alcohol, all of which can raise testosterone levels. He suspects any links between diet and testosterone may be the result of an overall healthier lifestyle.

Some men worry that eating lots of soy foods may cause their testosterone levels to fall, because soy is rich in isoflavones, which mimic the structure of estrogen. But the evidence doesn’t support their concerns, even if men eat foods like miso, tofu or soy milk at every meal. (Doctors did report one anecdotal case in which a 19-year-old man with Type 1 diabetes who followed a vegan diet containing 360 milligrams of soy isoflavones daily — nine times higher than a typical Japanese diet, and 100 times higher than the typical American diet — developed low testosterone levels along with low libido and fatigue. His symptoms improved when he stopped eating the soy-heavy, vegan diet.)

Long-term alcohol abuse lowers testosterone by damaging cells in both the testes, which make testosterone, and the liver, which alters testosterone metabolism. But binge drinking every now and then does not appear to have much of an impact — it lowers testosterone for only about 30 minutes, according to one study, after which levels bounce back to baseline.

Obese men who have low levels of testosterone can increase levels by cutting calories and losing weight — the type of diet does not matter, studies suggest. On the opposite extreme, Dr. Bhasin said he is seeing an increasing number of men at his clinic who have body dysmorphic issues and are suffering from low libido and fatigue. Strict calorie restriction, exercising intensely and being chronically stressed can all cause testosterone levels to plummet and are likely to blame, he said.

The bottom line is that for otherwise healthy men who are following a reasonably healthy lifestyle, fiddling with specific foods or the composition of the diet is not likely to make much of a difference on the testosterone score card. As Dr. Fantus of NorthShore University put it: “I don’t think there is a way to game the system to get really large increases by changing the diet.”

Correction: 

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that men who ate low-fat diets tended to have higher testosterone levels. Men who ate high-fat diets tended to have the higher T levels.

The article also referred to a 19-year-old man with low testosterone levels who was eating a diet containing 360 milligrams of soy daily; his diet actually contained 360 milligrams of soy isoflavones.

 

How Common Is Erectile Dysfunction?

How Common Is Erectile Dysfunction?

By Katie Wilkinson, MPH, MCHES

Published on September 28, 2021
Medically reviewed by Matthew Wosnitzer, MD

This article is a repost which originally appeared on verywell health

Edited for content.

Erectile dysfunction (ED), or impotence, is the inability to achieve and maintain an erection for sexual activity. While the occasional failure to get an erection is not uncommon, if it happens consistently, or more than 50% of the time, it may be ED. It can be a temporary experience, or develop into a long-term condition that requires treatment.

Prevalence

On a global scale, ED affects 3% to 76.5% of all men. The wide range is due to the different measures used in studies to evaluate ED.

In the United States, it’s estimated that 30 million men experience ED.2 Worldwide, there are about 150 million men living with ED, and by the year 2025, it’s predicted that over 300 million men will have ED.

Common Causes

ED can be caused by a number of factors relating to physical and mental health, including:

  • Physical and health conditions that involve different systems in the body, such as the vascular, neurological, or endocrine systems; can include issues with nerve signals or blood flow to the penis
  • Side effects from medication, which can include antidepressants, medication to manage blood pressure, tranquilizers, sedatives, ulcer medication, and prostate cancer therapy
  • Psychological or emotional causes such as depression, anxiety, fear associated with sexual performance, general stress, or low self-esteem
  • Lifestyle behaviors and health-related factors that are associated with ED include smoking, being overweight, lack of exercise, and substance (alcohol or drug) use

Risk Factors

Certain risk factors have been found to increase the likelihood of experiencing ED. They can include:

    • Age: The chances of developing ED increases with age, particularly in men over 60 years old.
    • Tobacco use: Research has found that smokers are 1.5 times more likely to experience ED than nonsmokers.
    • High blood pressure (hypertension): About 30% to 50% of people living with hypertension also experience ED.
    • Type 2 diabetes: Between 35% and 90% of diabetic men will develop ED.
    • High cholesterol: Statins used to treat high cholesterol showed improved erectile function.
    • Hypogonadism: This is a condition where the body doesn’t produce enough sex hormones, including testosterone. Since testosterone is necessary for the ability to maintain an erection, people with hypogonadism who are treated with testosterone replacement therapy can see improved erectile function.
    • Obesity: Several studies have indicated that men with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 25 begin to experience a 1.5 to three times greater risk of ED than those with lower BMIs.
    • Depression: Men living with depression are two times more likely to experience ED. Treating depression with selective serotonin uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can also increase risk of ED.

Stress and anxiety, particularly performance-related anxiety, can also cause issues with sexual activity and erectile function.

Associated Conditions

In addition to diabetes, hypertension, and hypogonadism, the National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases also lists the following conditions and diseases as associated with ED:

  • Heart and blood vessel conditions, including atherosclerosis
  • Injuries of the spinal cord, penis, prostate gland, bladder, or pelvic area
  • Prostate or bladder surgery
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Peyronie’s disease, a condition where scar tissue develops and creates a bend in the penis

Treatment

Treatment for ED can take many forms and depends on the root cause of the individual’s ED. Because of ED’s impact on sexual relationships, it’s worth discussing treatment options with your sexual partner.

Lifestyle

Avoiding or stopping the use of tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs may help with ED.

Increasing physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight can also be a way to improve erectile function.

Mental Health Counseling

Because emotional and psychological concerns can play a role in ED, speaking with a mental health professional can be beneficial. They can help identify ways to manage anxiety and work through stress that may be impacting sexual performance.

Medication

Oral (PDE5 inhibitors), injectable, or suppository medications can be prescribed to help achieve and maintain an erection. For those with low testosterone (hypogonadism), testosterone replacement therapy may be prescribed.

Treatment may also involve adjusting or changing current medications that hinder the ability to get an erection.

Devices and Procedures

The following devices and procedures can be used to treat ED:

  • Penis pump: This device uses vacuum action to pull blood into the penis to create an erection. It has a tube where the penis is placed and a pump that draws air out of the tube and creates suction. Once the blood is pulled into the penis, an elastic band is placed at the base of the penis to prevent the blood from going back into the body and to keep the erection for about 30 minutes.
  • Arterial repair surgery: Procedures to repair clogged blood vessels in the penis may increase blood flow to allow for erections. This treatment is usually reserved for patients under the age of 30.
  • Implantable devices: These include surgically placed devices that either inflate or include semi-rigid rods to help a person achieve an erection.

A Word From Verywell

While many men might feel embarrassed by their erectile dysfunction, it should be a comfort to know that it is a very common condition, affecting at least 150 million men worldwide. It is also a very treatable condition.

Talk to your healthcare provider if you experience issues achieving and maintaining an erection. Even though it may be uncomfortable to talk about, proper sexual functioning is a key part of your overall health and well-being.

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Cleveland Clinic. Erectile dysfunction. Updated October 14, 2019.
  2. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Definition & facts for erectile dysfunction. Updated July 2017.
  3. Kessler A, Sollie S, Challacombe B, Briggs K, Van Hemelrijck M. The global prevalence of erectile dysfunction: a review. BJU International. 2019;124(4):587-599. doi:10.1111/bju.14813
  4. Kalsi J, Muneer A. Erectile dysfunction – an update of current practice and future strategies. J Clinic Urol. 2013;6(4):210-219. doi:10.1177/2051415813491862
  5. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Symptoms & causes of erectile dysfunction. Updated July 2017.
  6. DeLay KJ, Haney N, Hellstrom WJ. Modifying risk factors in the management of erectile dysfunction: a review. World J Mens Health. 2016;34(2):89-100. doi:10.5534/wjmh.2016.34.2.89
  7. Mourikis I, Antoniou M, Matsouka E, et al. Anxiety and depression among Greek men with primary erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation. Ann Gen Psychiatry. 2015;14(1):34. doi:10.1186/s12991-015-0074-y
  8. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Treatment for erectile dysfunction. Updated July 2017.
  9. Urology Care Foundation. What is erectile dysfunction? Updated June 2018.
  10. Nguyen HM, Gabrielson AT, Hellstrom WJG. Erectile dysfunction in young men—a review of the prevalence and risk factors. Sexual Medicine Reviews. 2017;5(4):508-520. doi:10.1016/j.sxmr.2017.05.004
  11. International Society for Sexual Medicine. Can a vasectomy cause erectile dysfunction (ED)?
  12. Ssentongo AE, Kwon EG, Zhou S, Ssentongo P, Soybel DI. Pain and dysfunction with sexual activity after inguinal hernia repair: systematic review and meta-analysis. J Am Coll Surg. 2020;230(2). doi:10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2019.10.010

Testosterone Levels: Can Specific Foods or Diets Boost Them?

Can Specific Foods or Diets Boost Your Testosterone Levels?

What you eat or drink may affect levels of the male sex hormone, but whether a diet can increase libido or energy depends on many things.

By Randi Hutter Epstein, M.D.

Nov. 2, 2021 Updated 12:15 p.m. ET

This article is a repost which originally appeared on The New York Times

Edited for content.

Can I increase my testosterone levels through the foods I eat? And if so, which foods or diets work best?

Many men, particularly as they age, are concerned about their levels of testosterone, the male sex hormone touted to build muscle, sex drive and vigor. But individual foods are unlikely to have an impact on testosterone levels — though drinking excessive amounts of alcohol might. If you are overweight, altering your diet to lose weight may help, since carrying excess pounds is a common cause of low testosterone. But in terms of specific foods or diets, any uptick you achieve may not have a noticeable impact on libido, energy or muscle mass.

“If someone was not overweight, I wouldn’t put them on a specific diet to raise testosterone based on the data we have now,” said Alexander Pastuszak, an assistant professor of urology and surgery at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, who co-authored a review on alternatives to testosterone therapy.

In men, normal testosterone levels range from 300 to 1,000 nanograms per deciliter of blood. Ups and downs within that normal range are unlikely to have any impact on sex drive or vitality. Only when levels consistently drop below 300 points — as confirmed in two blood tests by an accredited laboratory — are symptoms like low libido, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, low mood or loss of muscle mass likely to appear, a medical condition known as hypogonadism.

Starting at around age 40, men’s testosterone levels start to decline by about 1 percent per year. But the drop can vary tremendously, with some older men maintaining levels similar to healthy young men. The trajectory of falling testosterone is steeper among men who gain a lot of weight, said Dr. Shalender Bhasin, professor of medicine at Harvard and the director of the Research Program in Men’s Health: Aging and Metabolism at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Studies on foods or diets and testosterone levels have generally been small and the findings far from conclusive. A recent British review that pooled data from 206 volunteers, for example, found that men on low-fat diets had testosterone levels that were about 60 points higher, on average, than men on high-fat diets. Men who followed a vegetarian diet tended to have the lowest levels of testosterone, about 150 points lower, on average, than those following a high-fat, meat-based diet. Still, Joseph Whittaker, the lead investigator and a nutritionist at the University of Worcester in Britain, said he would not recommend a man increase the fats in his diet unless he had low testosterone levels and symptoms of low T and was already restricting fats.

Another study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research tested two styles of diets in 25 fit men between the ages of 18 and 30. Calories consumed were the same, but one group ate a high-fat, very-low-carb, ketogenic-style diet, consisting of 75 percent of calories from fats, 5 percent from carbohydrates and 20 percent from protein. Men in the other group ate a more traditional Western style, low-fat diet, containing 25 percent of calories from fats, 55 percent from carbohydrates and 20 percent from protein. After 10 weeks of eating the high-fat diet, testosterone increased by 118 points, on average, while after the low-fat diet, levels declined by about 36 points

Similarly, a study of 3,000 men found that those who reported eating a low-fat diet had slightly lower testosterone levels — about 30 points lower — than men who ate higher-fat diets. But none of the men had low testosterone.

“The moral is that healthy men who are of normal weight with no significant comorbidities are unlikely to benefit from restrictive diets,” said Dr. Richard J. Fantus, one of the study’s authors and a urologist at NorthShore University HealthSystem in Evanston, Ill.

Diet studies are complicated, because changing one component of the diet, such as fat intake, alters so many other things, such as the amount of carbohydrates, protein and micronutrients consumed. It’s unclear which component of the diet may have prompted the hormonal changes, Dr. Bhasin said. Furthermore, testosterone levels may also be shaped by how much a person sleeps, or whether they are jet-lagged, or if they are eating most of their calories at night or in small meals throughout the day.

Dr. Faysal Yafi, chief of the division of Men’s Health and Reconstructive Urology at the University of California, Irvine, says his patients who opt to follow specific diets tend to start exercising more and drinking less alcohol, all of which can raise testosterone levels. He suspects any links between diet and testosterone may be the result of an overall healthier lifestyle.

Some men worry that eating lots of soy foods may cause their testosterone levels to fall, because soy is rich in isoflavones, which mimic the structure of estrogen. But the evidence doesn’t support their concerns, even if men eat foods like miso, tofu or soy milk at every meal. (Doctors did report one anecdotal case in which a 19-year-old man with Type 1 diabetes who followed a vegan diet containing 360 milligrams of soy daily — nine times higher than a typical Japanese diet, and 100 times higher than the typical American diet — developed low testosterone levels along with low libido and fatigue. His symptoms improved when he stopped eating the soy-heavy, vegan diet.)

Long-term alcohol abuse lowers testosterone by damaging cells in both the testes, which make testosterone, and the liver, which alters testosterone metabolism. But binge drinking every now and then does not appear to have much of an impact — it lowers testosterone for only about 30 minutes, according to one study, after which levels bounce back to baseline.

Obese men who have low levels of testosterone can increase levels by cutting calories and losing weight — the type of diet does not matter, studies suggest. On the opposite extreme, Dr. Bhasin said he is seeing an increasing number of men at his clinic who have body dysmorphic issues and are suffering from low libido and fatigue. Strict calorie restriction, exercising intensely and being chronically stressed can all cause testosterone levels to plummet and are likely to blame, he said.

The bottom line is that for otherwise healthy men who are following a reasonably healthy lifestyle, fiddling with specific foods or the composition of the diet is not likely to make much of a difference on the testosterone score card. As Dr. Fantus of NorthShore University put it: “I don’t think there is a way to game the system to get really large increases by changing the diet.”

 

Dealing with Premature Ejaculation & Causes of Premature Ejaculation (from The Ultimate Guide To Male Enhancement)

Dealing with Premature Ejaculation & Causes of Premature Ejaculation

The following are two chapters taken from the book: The Ultimate Guide To Male Enhancement.

Edited for content

Chapter 12: Dealing with Premature Ejaculation

What is Premature Ejaculation?

The definition of what constitutes premature ejaculation may vary depending on the source, but it’s commonly accepted as a scenario where the length of time for sexual performance on the part of the male is unsatisfactory, by either the man or his partner. That being said, what constitutes premature ejaculation can be arbitrary. There is no set time that if you orgasm before it then you have premature ejaculation.

Consider this – the average time between arousal and ejaculation is typically three minutes for a man. Considering the
average time for a woman to orgasm is typically 13 minutes after arousal it can be seen how many men may think they have premature ejaculation, but really they are simply normal. With this in mind, you can see why foreplay is so important to satisfying a woman.


Phases of Ejaculation

There are two phases of ejaculation.

● The Emission Phase and

● The Ejaculatory Phase


Emission Phase:

Here are the physical processes which occur during the emission phase of ejaculation:

● The vas deferens begins to contract to move sperm from the testes toward the urethra and prostate gland.

● The seminal vesicles secrete fluids into the urethra

● Chemical messages activate the sympathetic nervous system and begin what’s known as the ‘point of no return’
(PONR). Ejaculation is inevitable at this point.


Ejaculatory Phase:


During the ejaculatory phase, the posterior portion of the urethra senses the sperm and secretions and sends a signal
to the spinal cord. This then sends messages to the muscles at the base of your penis. This causes said muscles to contract, which results in ejaculation.

Chapter 13: Causes of Premature Ejaculation

Premature ejaculation can be caused by any number of factors. These can be separated into two categories:


● Physical (which can include chemical side effects) and

● Mental (or psychological) causes.


It’s not uncommon for both some mental component to be present in physical cases of premature ejaculation. Worry
about the experience of premature ejaculation often compounds any physical components.


Physical Premature Ejaculation

The most common form of premature ejaculation is due to physical causes. The most common among these is negative conditioning. This is usually because most men masturbate in a hurried and furtive manner. Doing this repeatedly trains the body into ejaculating quickly, so it shouldn’t be surprising to understand how this can lead to issues.

If added stimuli like porn is used, it can further skew what you can expect from real sexual encounters. This then adds to anxiety, which further increases the possibility of premature ejaculation. The easiest way to correct this is to train in a manner contrary to negative conditioning. This will be discussed in detail further in the section.


Hormonal Issues

If you have low testosterone or abnormal levels of catabolic hormones this can have a drastic effect on your ability to maintain an erection. This can turn into premature ejaculation if you have to strive to get erect. It can be further compounded if your hormone imbalances induce negative emotions like anxiety. Diet and exercise is often recommended as a treatment for issues related to hormone imbalances; however, if do-it-yourself treatments aren’t effective, then a full blood work up is necessary to determine the cause of these imbalances.

Chronic and/or acute stress can lower levels of dopamine in the system. This can create a scenario where you can find it difficult just to get aroused even in the absence of anxiety. Stress management is key to helping treat this issue. The amino acid L-Tyrosine has been shown to be effective at helping to restore natural dopamine levels.


Infections

It’s been shown infections of the prostate and urethra may contribute to premature ejaculation. Infections usually require medical attention and antibiotics for treatment.

Pelvic Floor Issues


Pelvic floor spasms may contribute to premature ejaculation. If these symptoms are minor, rest and targeted stretching of the area should help to alleviate the issue. If the problem is more severe, this might require the services of a physical therapist for relief.


A strain in the pelvic floor may cause pain upon Kegeling and symptoms such as “hard flaccid”. Certain muscles like the ischiocavernosus can become perpetually strained. This leads to a difficult to resolve issue, as these muscles are involved in many different bodily functions. Due to this, it’s not easy to allow them to recover as you would if you immobilized an arm or even a leg. A strain may require targeted massage and heat. Specific yoga poses which specifically target the pelvic floor may help to speed healing as well.


A common cause of pelvic floor issues is due to abusing the Kegel. This includes the Reverse Kegel (contractile) exercise. It’s vital you start Kegeling by using only as much contractile force as is needed during any of the Kegel type movements. A limited number of reps should be performed as well and then slowly increased each session.


Prescription Medications

Some prescription drugs may cause premature ejaculation as one of their side effects. If this is the case, contact your physician or pharmacist to see if there are alternative medications.

Mental Premature Ejaculation

Premature ejaculation may be placed on the spectrum of erectile dysfunction, especially if the case is so severe that penetration becomes difficult or impossible. This is often the case if performance anxiety is involve. A common scenario will involve difficulty in obtaining an erection, with almost immediate ejaculation upon or even before penetration. This stage most commonly precedes impotence.

Anxiety, depression and stress are three of the leading mental causes of premature ejaculation. Sometimes, it’s a matter
of which came first though – the chicken or the egg – the premature ejaculation or the anxiety/depression/stress. It’s
not uncommon for men to suffer from these three common challenges without even realizing. It’s even more common for these challenges to surface, when there’s a concern about premature ejaculation.

The Ultimate Guide to Male Enhancement

Studies address how plant-based diets impact men’s health issues

Studies address how plant-based diets impact men’s health issues

Reviewed by Emily Henderson, B.Sc. Sep 24 2021

This article is a repost which originally appeared on NEWS MEDICAL LIFE SCIENCES

Edited for content.

Three new studies by University of Miami Miller School of Medicine urologists address how consuming healthy plant-based diets impact a range of men’s health issues -; from diabetes to sexual health.

Plant-based diets is a hot topic in men’s health but one that many men dismiss for fear that eating less meat might negatively impact testosterone levels and sexual health.

Patients often ask about what they can do to keep prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels low or prevent prostate cancer.”

Mark L. Gonzalgo, MD, PhD, Professor and Vice Chair, Urology, Miller School

Healthy plant-based diets are among the lifestyle changes that men are hearing and learning about for overall health. Consuming a healthy plant-based diet does not necessarily mean eliminating meat, rather it focuses on eating more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes and less animal protein, according to Dr. Gonzalgo.

Yet there remain misconceptions among men about plant-based diets, according to Ranjith Ramasamy, M.D., associate professor and director of the Miller School’s Reproductive Urology Program.

“Traditionally, men have thought that lots of protein, specifically animal protein, was necessary to maintain testosterone levels and indirectly related to maintaining erectile function,” Dr. Ramasamy said.

Miller School investigators conduced three studies, including two abstracts presented at the September 2021 American Urology Association annual meeting, suggesting plant-based diets may improve serum testosterone and erectile function.

Plant-based eating and PSA

Urology resident Ali Mouzannar, M.D., presented and was among the authors of “Impact of Plant-Based Diet on PSA Level: Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES),” a study looking at the dietary habits of nearly 1,400 men with documented PSA levels in the NHANES database.

“PSA is a sensitive marker to prostate cancer. Patients with an elevated PSA require further evaluation with prostate biopsy to rule out cancer,” Dr. Mouzannar said.

Studying the impact of a plant-based diet on PSA levels is reasonable given what already is known about diets high in animal protein.

“Studies have shown that more aggressive prostate cancer can be associated with high meat intake. In addition, there is growing evidence that animal-based food has been associated with greenhouse emissions, and all-cause mortality risk., “Dr. Mouzannar said. “Several other publications suggest that fruits and vegetables may have protective effect against prostate cancer.”

Dr. Mouzannar and colleagues looked at men’s diets and PSA levels and found men consuming more fruits, vegetables and other healthy plant-based foods and less meat had lower PSA levels than men who consumed more meat or less healthy diets, including fruit juices, refined grains, potatoes, sugars, artificially sweetened beverages, and desserts.

More studies need to be conducted to determine if diet causes lower PSA levels, but in the meantime urologists and other can refer to the findings to answer patients’ questions.

“The important take-home message from this study is that it appears that adopting a plant-based diet may be associated with lower PSA levels and can certainly be incorporated into ways that patients can live healthier lifestyles,” said Dr. Gonzalgo, who also is a study author.

Other Miller School authors on the study are urology resident Manish Kuchakulla, M.D.; urology resident Ruben Blachman Braun, M.D., M.Sc.; medical student Sirpi Nackeeran; urology resident Maria Becerra, M.D.; Assistant Professor Bruno Nahar, M.D.; Associate Professor of Urology Oncology Sanoj Punnen, M.D.; Associate Professor of Urology Oncology Chad Ritch, M.D., M.B.A.; and Professor and Chair of Urology Dipen Parekh, M.D.

No ED, testosterone links

Contrary to the belief that eating more animal protein improves erectile function and testosterone levels in men, Miller School investigators found no impact on testosterone levels from a healthy plant-based diet and a positive impact from eating more plant-based foods and animal protein on erectile function, according to Miller School urology resident Ruben Blachman-Braun, M.D., M.Sc., who presented and authored “Plant-based diets are associated with decreased risk of erectile dysfunction.”

Dr. Blachman-Braun and colleagues studied nearly 2,550 men in the NHANES database.

“Of those, there were 1,085 with some degree of erectile dysfunction and after performing an analysis we showed that increased plant-based diet consumption is associated with decreased risk of erectile dysfunction,” Dr. Blachman-Braun said. “This does not mean that eating a plant-based diet improves erections. However, it shows that eating a plant-based diet does not negatively affect erections and having a healthier lifestyle with increased dietary plant-based consumption can potentially lead to having better erections.”

Other authors on this study are medical student Eliyahu Kresch; medical student Sirpi Nackeeran; Manish Kuchakulla and Dr. Ramasamy.

In yet another study published earlier this year in the World Journal of Urology, Dr. Ramasamy and coauthors analyzed health and diet information from 191 participants of the NHANES database. Plant-based diet index, or the amount of plant-based foods in men’s diets, did not predict and had no impact on serum testosterone levels.

Coauthors on this study were Manish Kuchakulla, Sirpi Nackeeran and Ruben Blachman-Braun.

The two studies presented at AUA were featured in its press release, putting a spotlight on the topic’s relevance, according to Dr. Ramasamy.

“We are on the cusp of figuring out how healthy living with decreased animal protein and more of a plant-based diet with more vegetables and fruits is not just better for your heart but also good for men’s health conditions, including sex life and testosterone levels,” Dr. Ramasamy said.

Source:

University of Miami

Journal reference:

Mouzannar, A., et al. (2021) PD65-08 Impact Of Plant-Based Diet On Psa Level: Data From The National Health And Nutrition Examination Survey. Journal of Urology. doi.org/10.1097/JU.0000000000002109.08.

Aloe for Male Enhancement: Is It Safe and Does It Work?

Aloe for Male Enhancement: Is It Safe and Does It Work?

Medically reviewed by Joseph Brito III, MD — Written by Rachael Zimlich on June 7, 2021

This article is a repost which originally appeared on Healthline

Edited for content.

Aloe vera can be found in many products. It can help boost the moisture content of your skin and even help heal burns and other wounds.

While it may seem like something of a miracle product, it can’t help with everything. In fact, you may want to be cautious before applying it everywhere — including your genitalia.

Keep reading to find out how aloe vera can be used for sexual health and when to avoid it.

What is male enhancement?

Male enhancement is a general phrase used to describe any efforts to improve the appearance, size, or function of genitalia — specifically the penis.

Some common enhancement strategies include:

  • stretches and exercises
  • topical or oral medications and herbal remedies
  • pumps
  • clamps and rings
  • surgery
  • grooming techniques

The goal of these strategies is to increase the size or appearance of the penis, improve erection strength and duration, or resolve ejaculation issues.

In some cases, male enhancement aims to treat erectile dysfunction (ED). This term typically refers to the inability to have or maintain an erection, but there can be varying levels of ED. In many cases, there’s another root issue, like cardiovascular disease or a medication side effect.

Improvement of ED is commonly pursued either for sexual pleasure or fertility purposes. Treatments should be designed based on the goal in mind.

Talk with a doctor about your specific symptoms and goals before beginning any new therapies or medications.

Does research support the use of topical aloe vera for male enhancement?

The use of aloe vera for general health and skin care is fairly common. However, you may be wondering if it could be used for male enhancement.

Most herbal or plant remedies are based in cultural practices, but there’s not a lot of clinical research on some claims of aloe vera benefits, like male enhancement.

Some studies have been done with animals, but the results were generally inconclusive. If anything, some of these studies raised concern about the use of aloe vera for sexual health benefits.

Here’s a breakdown of some relevant research in this area:

  • In a 2011 animal study, topical aloe vera reduced sperm concentration and quality.
  • A 2014 study showed possible benefits to sperm health and hormone levels in mice that received injections of an aloe vera compound.
  • A 2015 study showed that that aloe vera may potentially harm fertility in male rats.
  • There have been reports of libido enhancement with aloe use, but results may vary based on the specific form of aloe.

If you’re concerned about ED or another sexual health issue, talk with a healthcare professional. They can help guide you toward the right treatment for your situation.

Other natural treatments for male enhancement

There are many natural remedies you can try if you’re interested in male enhancement. However, you should always discuss any supplements you’re considering with a doctor first.

Several herbal remedies that have shown promising effects on male sexual health and performance include:

  • L-arginine
  • panax ginseng
  • L-citrulline
  • L-carnitine
  • gingko biloba

Other ways to improve your sexual health and performance include focusing on an overall healthy lifestyle, including:

  • staying active and exercising
  • eating a healthy diet
  • reducing stress
  • avoiding alcohol and other drugs
  • spending time outdoors

While regular exercise and a healthy diet are always good choices, talk with your doctor before starting any new therapies or supplements for male enhancement.

How is aloe vera used?

Aloe vera has been used on the skin and in the body for thousands of years. It can be found in all kinds of products — from juices to lotions.

Oral use of aloe vera usually comes in a pill form or as liquid extract or juice that you can drink. It’s thought to help with the following conditions:

  • obesity
  • diabetes
  • hepatitis
  • inflammatory bowel disease

However, there isn’t enough data to determine if oral aloe is effective for improving these conditions.

Evidence on the benefits of topical use — such as a gel, ointment, or lotion — is clearer, demonstrating that aloe can be helpful in treating:

  • acne
  • lichen planus
  • oral submucous fibrosis
  • burning mouth syndrome
  • burns
  • scabies
  • skin toxicity due to radiation

While aloe vera is generally considered safe, be sure to check the ingredients of the specific product you’re using.

Some oral aloe products may contain additional compounds that could result in side effects or interact with other medications. Even topical products may be mixed with alcohol compounds or other ingredients that can cause irritation.

Are there any possible side effects?

Aloe vera is widely used as both a topical and oral supplement. However, there have been some side effects linked to aloe vera use — either orally or topically — including:

  • liver problems
  • skin irritation
  • stomach pain or cramps
  • diarrhea
  • electrolyte imbalances

To avoid side effects, read the label of the product you’re using to understand all the ingredients it contains. You should also check for safety statements on the label.

For topical uses, it’s also a good idea to do a patch test by applying a small amount of product to an area of skin to test for sensitivity or irritation before applying liberally. This is particularly important when it comes to applying topicals, like aloe vera, to sensitive skin areas, like your genitalia.

The bottom line

There isn’t much evidence showing that aloe vera helps improve the size of your penis or your sexual performance.

However, if you decide to try it as a topical or oral supplement for enhancement, be sure to check the product’s safety, like performing a skin patch test before widespread application.

Always talk with your doctor or another healthcare professional about any supplements you plan on taking and your reason for taking them. They may be able to help treat the source of any sexual health problems you’re facing.

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