Blood flow to the penis is a critical component of healthy erections. Men achieve an erection when sexual arousal gives rise to nerve impulses that tell the muscle fibers in the penis to relax. The chemical that causes the muscle fibers to relax is called nitric oxide. Once the muscles relax, it allows blood to flow into the penis, fill the open spaces, expand it, and make it stiff. Therefore, penis blood flow is the natural process by which erections occur. How to increase blood flow to the penis? Do diet and vitamins help? Are there medications and mechanical devices available?
For more information, check out our “Guide to Erectile Dysfunction“.
How to increase blood flow to the penis?
Penis circulation plays an important role in erections. During an erection, the arteries that carry blood into the organ expand to increase blood flow to the penis. In the erect state, the penis contains 8 times as much blood as the flaccid state. The blood fills the corpus cavernosa (two tubes of spongy tissue) in the penis, causing it to swell and enlarge. At the same time, the veins that carry blood away from the organ become narrow, trapping the blood and thereby maintaining the erection. Following ejaculation or when sexual arousal is no longer present, the veins expand and allow the blood to drain out from the penis, returning it to the normal soft state.
It is not surprising that many treatments for erectile dysfunction focus act by improving penis blood flow. Some medications that help men achieve strong erections work by causing the muscles to relax, which boosts blood flow to the penis. In addition, there are natural ways to improve penis circulation and make erections easier and stronger. Certain foods, vitamins, and exercise are believed to dilate blood vessels and stimulate the flow of blood into the penis. For men struggling with erectile dysfunction, perhaps the most important question that needs to be answered is: How to improve blood flow to the penis?
Every device, prescription medication, or homeopathic treatment for erectile dysfunction should attempt to answer one question. How to increase blood flow to the penis when the body isn’t functioning as it should? Supplements and different types of foods make various claims about properties they possess for improving blood flow.
Increasing blood flow to the penis naturally
Treating erectile dysfunction with medications isn’t the only option available to men. There are a number of ways to naturally boost penis circulation and maintain male sexual health:
- Coffee: Studies show that men who drink 2-3 cups of coffee daily are less likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction compared to men who drink little to no coffee. It is believed caffeine improves blood flow to the penis by relaxing the muscles and arteries, thereby leading to stronger erections.
- Oats: Wild oats are believed to be aphrodisiacs. Oatmeal contains the amino acid L-arginine that improves the effect of nitric oxide, the chemical that reduces the stiffness of blood vessels in the penis and allows blood to flow into it.
- Dark Chocolate: Flavanols are known to lower blood pressure and increase blood flow. Men who habitually consume flavonoid-rich foods such as chocolate have been found to have a reduced incidence of erectile dysfunction.
- Aerobic Exercise: Diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure are all conditions that affect blood flow and can result in erectile dysfunction. Moderate aerobic exercise for 30-40 minutes three to four times a week can improve cardiovascular health and prevent or improve ED.
- Kegel Exercises: Pelvic floor exercises can help many men with erectile dysfunction regain normal sexual function by strengthening the muscles that allow the penis to engorge with blood during an erection.
- Dehydration can reduce blood volume as well as lead to a constriction (narrowing) of blood vessels, thereby decreasing penis blood flow.
- Mild dehydration is believed to cause anxiety and impaired mood in men. A man’s mental state has a profound effect on sexual drive. Therefore, mood changes due to dehydration can potentially cause erectile dysfunction.
Alcohol and Smoking:
- Alcohol drinkers are more likely to suffer from erectile problems compared to men who never drink.
- Cigarette smoking can damage blood vessels and result in poor blood flow to the penis. Studies have found that stopping cigarette use can improve sexual health in a considerable number of smokers.
- Constant stress is associated with damage to blood vessels and this can potentially affect penis circulation.
- Anxiety can interrupt the messages from the brain that allow extra blood to flow into to the penis during an erection.
Increasing blood flow to the penis with penis pumps
A penis pump is a mechanical device that helps a man obtain and maintain an erection that is sufficiently strong for sexual intercourse. Also known as a vacuum erectile device, it works by using negative pressure to expand the corpus cavernosa and increase blood flow to the penis. It consists of a plastic tube that encloses the penis, a manual or battery-powered pump, and a constriction band that fits at the base of the erect penis to prevent it from collapsing.
Penis pumps are non-invasive and do not involve any injection or insertion. They are effective and less risky than some other treatments with fewer side effects. They can be used in along with other treatments, such as penile implants and medications, and combination treatment works well for some men.
The use of a vacuum pump can help rehabilitate damaged penile tissues. The increase in penis blood flow during pump use is associated with better nutrition and oxygenation of the corpus cavernosa, the tubes that engorge with blood during an erection. In men who have undergone prostate surgery, the use of vacuum erectile devices has been shown to help improve penis circulation, preserve penis length, regain erectile function, and improve sexual health.
For more information, check out our “Guide to Penis Pumps“.
Increasing blood flow to the penis with medication
An estimated 30 million men in the United States and 150 million men worldwide suffer from erectile dysfunction. A number of medications are available to men who are not able to get or keep an erection that’s hard enough for sex. Treatment with these drugs can solve the problem but may be associated with side effects. All the drugs used to treat ED work by stimulating blood flow to the penis.
Vasodilators: These drugs produce erections by relaxing the muscles, expanding the blood vessels, and allowing the penis to fill with blood. They can be used alone or in combination with other treatments. A commonly prescribed vasodilator, alprostadil, is injected directly into the base of the penis. It can also be inserted into the urethra in the form of a pellet. It is available under the brand names Caverjet, Edex, and MUSE.
Advantages of Vasodilators:
- They work directly by dilating blood vessels and are therefore effective in men with damaged nerves.
- Regular use may re-establish penis blood flow and promote the return of normal erections.
Disadvantages of Vasodilators:
- Patients must learn the proper technique for administration.
- Discomfort, scarring, and priapism (rare) can occur from the injections.
- Urethral burning may be a side effect of the MUSE pellet delivery system.
Sildenafil: This medication, available widely as Viagra, is an effective treatment for men with mild to moderate erectile dysfunction. It works by enhancing the effect of nitric oxide, the chemical that relaxes the muscles and increases blood flow to the penis. Sildenafil needs to be taken one hour before planned sexual activity. It does not work automatically. An erection only occurs if sexual arousal causes the release of nitric oxide.
Advantages of Viagra:
- Effective for mild to moderate ED.
- Convenient (does not require injection or insertion).
Disadvantages of Viagra:
- Lack of spontaneity due to short time of action.
- Food in stomach can lower the effectiveness of the drug.
- Cannot be used with alcohol.
- Side effects such as flushing, headache, upset stomach, backache, visual changes, nasal congestion, nausea, dizziness, rash.
- Rare reports of heart attack and stroke.
To check out the various vacuum therapy products available at Augusta Medical Systems visit our online store. Or contact customer support at Augusta Medical Systems with questions at 800-827-8382.