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Apr 24, 2014 01:33 PM EDT

Erectile Dysfunction Can Be Treated Without Drugs

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Men with erectile dysfunction may be able to reverse their condition without medication, HealthDay reported.

Researchers from the University of Adelaide in Australia found that men suffering from sexual dysfunction can reverse their problems by losing weight, getting more active, drinking less alcohol, and getting better sleep, HealthDay reported.

Erectile dysfunction and low sexual desire is sometimes linked to the development of heart disease.

"Sexual relations are not only an important part of people's wellbeing. From a clinical point of view, the inability of some men to perform sexually can also be linked to a range of other health problems, many of which can be debilitating or potentially fatal," Gary Wittert, head of the Discipline of Medicine at the University of Adelaide and Director of the University's Freemasons Foundation Centre for Men's Health, said in a statement.

For the study, researchers collected data and followed more than 800 men over a five-year period. About 31 percent of the study participants developed some form of erectile dysfunction.

"Our study saw a large proportion of men suffering from some form of erectile dysfunction, which is a concern," Wittert said in a statement.

They also found that a large proportion of men were naturally overcoming erectile dysfunction issues. The remission rate of those with erectile dysfunction was 29 percent.

"This shows that many of these factors affecting men are modifiable, offering them an opportunity to do something about their condition," Wittert said.

Researchers said the major risk factors for erectile dysfunctions are typically physical conditions rather than psychological ones, such as being overweight or obese, a higher level of alcohol intake, having sleeping difficulties or obstructive sleep apnea, and age.

"It is always worth reducing obesity, improving nutrition and getting more exercise -- firstly, because health and well-being improve and overall cardiovascular risk and risk of diabetes will be reduced," Wittert said.

The findings were recently published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

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