Erectile dysfunction (ED) – impotence – is the inability to get or maintain an erection. There are factors, like alcohol and stress, that can hinder your ability to obtain an erection. But in the case of ED, it is a chronic problem, which may also reveal an underlying health issue. For example, erectile dysfunction can reveal heart disease later on in life.
Causes of erectile dysfunction are either physical or psychological. Men with depression and stress are more likely to suffer from ED. Furthermore, heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, blood pressure, obesity, tobacco use, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and sleep disorders are all potential physical causes for erectile dysfunction.
There is new research that suggests that another condition can greatly impact ED as well. The culprit is gout, which may also help detect coronary artery disease.
Sometimes referred to as the “rich man’s disease,” gout occurs when there are high amounts of uric acid – produced when the body breaks down purines (commonly found in most foods) – in the blood. Foods that contain purines are steak, organ meats, and seafood. Alcohol and beverages sweetened with fructose also contain purines.
In a healthy individual, uric acid passes through the kidneys and is expelled from the body in our urine. When uric acid is produced in high amounts or when your kidneys only release small amounts, it can create needle-like crystals in joints and tissues.
This formation of crystals can cause pain, swelling, and even a burning sensation. The crystals typically affect the big toe.
A study presented at the Annual Congress 2014 of the European League Against Rheumatism revealed that men who have gout should be checked routinely for erectile dysfunction. About 201 men were surveyed and 83 had a diagnosis of gout.
About 76 percent of the men with gout had erectile dysfunction in comparison to the men who did not have gout.
Notably, patients with gout and ED had an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Higher levels of uric acid can minimize urine flow because urine becomes thicker. This makes the release through the penile area more difficult. If men are diagnosed with gout, they should be continuously monitored for any signs related to ED.
Now that we know there is a relationship between gout and erectile dysfunction, one step you can take to prevent ED is to prevent gout.
For gout prevention, minimize your intake of meat and seafood, stay hydrated, limit alcohol consumption, and maintain a healthy body weight.
Here are some more natural remedies to combat and control gout.
Use ice: Whenever we encounter an injury, we are advised to apply ice. Ice constricts blood vessels, thus reducing swelling. Furthermore, a reduction of blood flow to the area can help ease the pain as well.
Rest the joint: Gout pain should be treated similarly to an injured body part. The best way to promote healing is to rest. So when you are encountering a gout pain attack, the best thing to do is rest. Joint overuse will only result in more pain and inflammation.
Drink plenty of fluids: Because uric acid can be expelled through urination, it’s important to drink a lot of water in order to remove excess uric acid.
Avoid alcohol: Alcohol, in particular beer, is high in purines, which get broken down into uric acid. Avoiding alcohol can reduce the amount of uric acid in the body.
Eat foods that promote pain relief: Although foods high in purines can worsen gout, there are specific foods you should eat as a natural remedy for gout pain. Fruits, vegetables, lean meat, and whole grains can help ease pain and inflammation associated with gout.
Avoid foods high in purines: Avoid foods high in purines like organ and glandular meat, some seafood, and alcohol.
Keep your weight down: Being overweight not only increases your risk of gout, it can also worsen gout pain. Losing weight can reduce uric acid in the body and alleviate stress on the joints.
Take extra care of your joints: Getting rest and icing joints are effective ways of taking care of your joints. Lose some weight if you are overweight.
Create gout-friendly socks: Having the affected area cooped up in a sock can cause further irritation. You can simple make gout-friendly socks by cutting out an area of the sock to allow the toe – most commonly, the big toe – to poke through. You may also choose to wear open-toe shoes or sandals when permitted.
Tame your sheets: Because an affected joint is so sensitive, even the light weight of bed sheets can cause pain. Keep your sheets at calf or ankle level so your foot can stay exposed. Tucking your feet into the mattress will ensure they don’t move about as freely.
Get naked: Keep the affected area as exposed as possible by not wearing closed shoes or socks for long periods of time.
Elevate your foot: When blood flows to a specific area, it can cause swelling and pain. By elevating the affected foot, you can relieve some of the swelling.
Get a cane: Because you don’t want to add unnecessary pressure to the joints, the use of a cane may be ideal.
Erectile dysfunction has many other causes besides gout. Following these prevention tips and natural remedies can reduce the risk of developing ED.
By following these healthy lifestyle tips, you can help to prevent erectile dysfunction and gout.