Get $15 off ED treatments (if prescribed). Start now

Is there a simple trick to cure erectile dysfunction (ED)?

Reviewed by Felix Gussone, MD, Ro, 

Written by Amelia Willson 

Reviewed by Felix Gussone, MD, Ro, 

Written by Amelia Willson 

LAST UPDATED: Oct 02, 2023


If you have erectile dysfunction (ED), know you are not the only one. According to some estimates, ED affects 30–50 million men in the United States. You may be wondering if there is a simple trick to cure ED. We’ll give you the quick answer: no, there isn’t. 

But, there is good news. For most men, ED is treatable. Read on as we explore what causes ED and the natural life hacks (plus medication) you can do to treat it. 


Treat erectile dysfunction for up to 95% less than the cost of Viagra®

What is erectile dysfunction? 

Erectile dysfunction is simply defined as an inability to get or maintain an erection long enough to enjoy satisfying sexual intercourse. Having difficulty with erections every once in a while is not ED. 

Erections are complicated, and they don’t just happen; a lot goes on beneath the surface for your penis to get hard. Your hormones, nerves, blood vessels, and brain all work together to increase blood flow and make your penis swell up and stay hard. If something interferes with any part of the process, there’s a chance for ED to develop.

ED may be defined as a sexual health issue, but it typically affects way more than a man’s sex life. ED can lower your self-esteem, affect your relationship with a sexual partner (or partners), and lead to shame, anxiety, and depression. It can even affect your productivity at work. ED can also have potentially serious underlying health conditions (more on that below).

Causes of erectile dysfunction 

Several things could be causing your ED, from an underlying health condition to your mental health or lifestyle. In fact, there could be multiple factors at work.

Physical causes of ED

Several health conditions have been linked to ED. For example, men with obesity are 50% more likely to have ED. Undiagnosed diabetes is nearly three times as likely in men with ED — and the longer you have diabetes, the higher your risk of ED. 

Heart health is also linked to men’s sexual health. Roughly half of men with coronary artery disease also have ED. At the same time, having ED increases your cardiovascular risk and makes you more likely to experience stroke or heart attack. One in three men with hypertension (high blood pressure) have ED.

Some of the other conditions associated with ED include:

  • Multiple sclerosis

  • Parkinson disease

  • Thyroid disorders

  • Traumatic injury or fractures

  • Hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol)

  • Sleep apnea

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

Also, erectile dysfunction increases with age. ED affects up to 50% of men in their 50s. By the time they enter their 60s, the percentage increases to 74%. But, ED can affect men of any age. In fact, one in four men under age 40 seek treatment for ED.

ED is distressing, to say the least, but it is common and treatable, so there is no need to prolong your frustration. The sooner you know what’s causing your ED, the sooner you will be on your way to managing your ED and enjoying great sex again. 

Lifestyle causes of ED

Various lifestyle factors can contribute to and exacerbate ED. Being a smoker significantly increases your risk of ED, as does drinking alcohol and using recreational drugs. It’s unclear whether marijuana causes ED. A sedentary lifestyle, with little physical activity, is associated with ED, as is following an unhealthy diet. (Both of these can contribute to obesity, which is itself a risk factor for ED.)

Poor sleep can also increase your risk of ED, especially if you have a diagnosed sleep condition like insomnia or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). ED is highly prevalent among men with OSA, affecting up to 80% of men.

Psychological causes of ED

Performance anxiety and relationship issues can also contribute to ED, as can depression, anxiety, and stress. Men with depression are 40% more likely to have ED. Similarly, men who have ED are three times more likely to have depression. 

As many as 37% of men with ED may have an anxiety disorder, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder. 

Research indicates that men with anxiety may have more severe ED as well. 

Additionally, the medications people take to manage anxiety and depression, like antidepressants, can cause ED as a side effect. Others may choose to self-medicate with alcohol, which is linked to ED.

Medication causes of ED

Experts estimate that about one in four cases of ED can be attributed to prescription medications. Several prescription drugs have ED as a side effect, including:

Talk to your healthcare provider if you’re concerned your medication is interfering with your erections. Do not change your dosage or stop taking your medicines without talking to your healthcare provider. They may change your dosage or switch you to a different medication that is less likely to cause ED. 

Is there a simple trick to cure ED? 

Like the Fountain of Youth, the quick-fix trick to cure ED for good still eludes us. If you’re wondering why there’s no simple trick to cure ED — despite what you may have seen advertised in gimmicky online ads or an influencer who swears by a herbal supplement — just look at the list of causes of ED above. 

Many of the causes of ED are complex, requiring more complex treatment. That’s not to cause you despair, it’s just the reality of things. Fortunately, there are several proven treatment options for ED, and by treating the underlying causes of ED, you can treat ED as well!

5 natural ways to treat erectile dysfunction 

Depending on your diagnosis, your healthcare provider may recommend some simple lifestyle changes to relieve your ED, in conjunction with drugs like Viagra (sildenafil) or Cialis (tadalafil), or on their own. These are good steps to take to improve not only your erections but your overall quality of life and health as well.

1. Eat well 

Eating better can relieve ED. If you are overweight or obese, following a healthy diet (and limiting your calories) can help you lose weight, which in itself is linked to improved sex life

Among men with obesity or overweight, weight loss of 5%–10% of their body weight improves erectile function. In particular, men who eat a diet similar to the Mediterranean diet — high in fruits, veggies, nuts, whole grains, and fish, but low in red and processed meat and refined grains — are less likely to have ED.

2. Exercise often 

Regular exercise is associated with a lower risk of ED. Exercise improves overall health, including penile health and testosterone levels. It also improves erections by boosting nitric oxide production, the helpful molecule that relaxes the muscles in your penis, enabling blood flow during an erection. While both aerobic exercise and strength training can help with ED, aerobic exercise of moderate-to-vigorous intensity, like running or cycling, has proven to be the most effective.

Exercise has been shown to help ED drugs work even better, too.

How much exercise should you aim for? Experts recommend 40 minutes of intense aerobic exercise, four times per week. Studies show that within six months, following this workout routine significantly relieved erection issues in men who had ED due to a sedentary lifestyle or a health condition like obesity, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, or heart disease.

3. Manage your stress 

The problem with stress is that it infects multiple aspects of your life, including your sex life. ED itself can lead to chronic stress, which in turn worsens the symptoms of ED. Studies have found that stress management programs, when combined with tadalafil, an oral ED medication and the active ingredient in Cialis, can help relieve both stress and ED. 

If mental health contributes to your ED, take heart in knowing that therapy and counseling help resolve ED. Consider exploring these stress management techniques:

4. Get enough sleep 

Despite what some CEOs may claim, good sleep is essential for your health. In fact, some researchers consider sleep the “third pillar of health,” along with diet and exercise. Poor sleep is linked to ED, as well as infertility.

Improve your sleep by improving your sleep hygiene. Try the following techniques:

  • Aim to get 7–8 hours of sleep each night

  • Avoid daytime naps

  • Limit caffeine in the afternoon and evening

  • Exercise regularly (is there anything exercise can’t do?)

  • Get some sunlight during the day

  • Put away the electronics before bed

5. Avoid drinking and smoking 

Alcohol and smoking are both associated with an increased risk of ED. Drinking in moderation appears to be okay, but excessive consumption (21+ drinks per week) significantly raises your risk of ED. 

Quitting smoking and reducing your alcohol consumption can improve your erections and testosterone levels. Within one year, men who quit smoking report significant improvements in their erections, with even better results at a later follow-up. 

Medication treatment for erectile dysfunction

ED treatment is readily available, thanks to phosphodiesterase-type 5-(PDE5) inhibitors like Viagra (sildenafil), Cialis (tadalafil), and Levitra (vardenafil). These medications are typically the first-line treatment for ED, as they are highly effective and start working within one hour of taking them. They work by increasing blood flow to the penis. Note: drugs like Viagra and Cialis do not make you sexually aroused, meaning they don’t give you an erection on their own. Rather, they make you hard once you’re in the mood. 

When is it time to talk to a healthcare professional about ED? If the below sounds familiar, it may be time to ask about erectile dysfunction treatment:

  • You’ve had difficulty getting or maintaining an erection for satisfying sex

  • You’ve noticed symptoms are getting worse

  • It’s starting to affect your overall quality of life

During your appointment, your healthcare provider will ask questions about your erections and your sex life. They may perform a physical exam, order a blood test, or suggest a referral to a specialist or a mental health provider. With Roman, you can connect with a licensed medical provider online. Medications start at $4 per dose and come with free, discreet shipping.

Viagra Important Safety Information: Read more about serious warnings and safety info.

Cialis Important Safety Information: Read more about serious warnings and safety info.


Consult a healthcare provider to learn more about Cialis®

Can you prevent erectile dysfunction? 

The above tips for naturally treating ED are also ways to prevent it. For example, regular exercise is associated with a lower risk of ED and has also been shown to prevent it. A lack of physical activity is one of the most reversible risk factors for ED, and one that is totally in your control (unless you have a medical condition that limits your ability to exercise). 

Likewise, research suggests that following a plant-based diet, similar to the Mediterranean diet, can help men maintain healthy erectile function and lower the risk of ED well into their 60s.

While ED is more common with age, it is not inevitable. Implementing these healthy lifestyle changes, such as exercise, good sleep, and a plant-based diet, can help improve your erections now and in the future. One of the best ways to prevent erectile dysfunction is to live your best and healthiest life. So start making these changes today, and make an appointment with your health provider to cover your bases. You deserve to feel great about your sexual performance again.


If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider. The articles on Health Guide are underpinned by peer-reviewed research and information drawn from medical societies and governmental agencies. However, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

  • Cho, J. W. & Duffy, J. F. (2019). Sleep, Sleep Disorders, and Sexual Dysfunction. The World Journal of Men's Health, 37(3), 261–275. doi:10.5534/wjmh.180045. Retrieved from

  • Duca, Y., Calogero, A. E., Cannarella, R., et al. (2019). Erectile dysfunction, physical activity and physical exercise: Recommendations for clinical practice. Andrologia, 51(5), e13264. doi:10.1111/and.13264. Retrieved from

  • Elterman, D. S., Bhattacharyya, S. K., Mafilios, M., et al. (2021). The Quality of Life and Economic Burden of Erectile Dysfunction. Research and Reports in Urology, 13, 79–86. doi:10.2147/RRU.S283097. Retrieved from

  • Gerbild, H., Larsen, C. M., Graugaard, C., et al. (2018). Physical Activity to Improve Erectile Function: A Systematic Review of Intervention Studies. Sexual Medicine, 6(2), 75–89. doi:10.1016/j.esxm.2018.02.001. Retrieved from

  • Kalaitzidou, I., Venetikou, M. S., Konstadinidis, K., et al. (2014). Stress management and erectile dysfunction: a pilot comparative study. Andrologia, 46(6), 698–702. doi:10.1111/and.12129. Retrieved from

  • Kohn, T. P., Kohn, J. R., Haney, N. M., et al. (2020). The effect of sleep on men's health. Translational Andrology and Urology, 9(Suppl 2), S178–S185. doi:10.21037/tau.2019.11.07. Retrieved from

  • Krzastek, S. C., Bopp, J., Smith, R. P., et al. (2019). Recent advances in the understanding and management of erectile dysfunction. F1000Research, 8, F1000 Faculty Rev-102. doi:10.12688/f1000research.16576.1. Retrieved from

  • Maiorino, M. I., Bellastella, G., & Esposito, K. (2015). Lifestyle modifications and erectile dysfunction: what can be expected?. Asian Journal of Andrology, 17(1), 5–10. doi:10.4103/1008-682X.137687. Retrieved from

  • Martin, S. A., Atlantis, E., Lange, K., et al. (2014). Predictors of sexual dysfunction incidence and remission in men. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 11(5), 1136–1147. doi:10.1111/jsm.12483. Retrieved from

  • Rew, K. T. & Heidelbaugh, J. J. (2016). Erectile Dysfunction. American Family Physician, 94(10), 820–827. Retrieved from

  • Sooriyamoorthy, T. & Leslie, S. W. (2023). Erectile Dysfunction. StatPearls. Retrieved Sep. 25, 2023 from

  • Velurajah, R., Brunckhorst, O., Waqar, M., et al. (2022). Erectile dysfunction in patients with anxiety disorders: a systematic review. International Journal of Impotence Research, 34(2), 177–186. doi:10.1038/s41443-020-00405-4. Retrieved from

  • Yafi, F. A., Jenkins, L., Albersen, M., et al. (2016). Erectile dysfunction. Nature reviews. Disease Primers, 2, 16003. doi:10.1038/nrdp.2016.3. Retrieved from

  • Yang, H., Breyer, B. N., Rimm, E. B., et al. (2022). Plant-based diet index and erectile dysfunction in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. BJU International, 130(4), 514–521. doi:10.1111/bju.15765. Retrieved from

How we reviewed this article

Every article on Health Guide goes through rigorous fact-checking by our team of medical reviewers. Our reviewers are trained medical professionals who ensure each article contains the most up-to-date information, and that medical details have been correctly interpreted by the writer.

Current version

October 02, 2023

Written by

Amelia Willson

Fact checked by

Felix Gussone, MD

About the medical reviewer

Felix Gussone is a physician, health journalist and a Manager, Medical Content & Education at Ro.

Stay in touch on your weight loss journey

Sign up for news, updates, promotions and more.

By sharing your email, you acknowledge that your email will be used consistent with our privacy policy and terms of use including for marketing purposes.

    You'll have access to proven ED medication

    Ro offers genuine erectile dysfunction treatment, delivered straight to your door, if prescribed. Get started with our online visit to see if treatment is right for you.

    Viagra pill packet from Roman with the little blue pill



    Starting at $90/dose on a recurring plan*

    Viagra, a type of medication known as a PDE5 inhibitor, is used to treat erectile dysfunction. Choose this option if you want the brand name medication from Pfizer. Learn more about Viagra.

    Get started
    Sildenafil Citrate, generic for Viagra, pills with Roman pill packet

    Generic Viagra


    Starting at $4/dose on a recurring plan*

    Generic Viagra and Viagra are both FDA-approved and contain the same active ingredient - sildenafil. The difference? Generic Viagra is up to 90% cheaper than Viagra. Learn more about generic Viagra.

    Get started
    Tadalafil, generic of Cialis, pills with Roman pill packet

    Generic Cialis


    Starting at $8/dose on a recurring plan*

    Generic Cialis and Cialis are both FDA-approved and contain the same active ingredient - tadalafil. The difference is price. Tadalafil can be taken daily or as-needed. Learn more about generic Cialis.

    Get started
    Cialis pills with Roman pill packet



    Starting at $20/dose on a recurring plan

    Cialis, a type of medication known as a PDE5 inhibitor, is used to treat erectile dysfunction. It can be taken daily or as-needed, and it lasts up to 36 hours. Learn more about Cialis.

    Get started