The Best Ways To Increase Blood Flow To The Penis Naturally

If you’re suffering from erectile dysfunction (ED) or have experienced low blood flow in the penis, you’ll know how it can impair your confidence and relationship with sexual partners. While most men will experience low libido and poor erections at some point in life, there are ways to combat this and increase the blood flow to your penis.

In this article, we’ll cover erectile dysfunction and male fertility, as well as natural remedies to improve blood circulation and blood flow in the penis.

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Overview of male infertility

If your partner has difficulty getting or maintaining an erection or ejaculating during sex, they may suffer erectile dysfunction.

Conception requires male ejaculation. While ED technically doesn’t make a man “infertile,” ED can cause concern for those looking to conceive.

Apart from ED, several factors can influence male fertility. These include:

  • An insufficient amount of sperm produced

  • Low semen volume

  • Sperm that isn’t viable or healthy

  • Blockage in the genital tract

Of all infertility cases worldwide, 40–50%¹ are due to male infertility. While infertility can be assisted with several treatment options, it can still cause significant stress for those involved in conceiving.

What is erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction² is the inability to obtain and maintain an erection for successful sexual intercourse and conception.

The penis has two major muscles. Centrally, you have the corpus spongiosum. Laterally, you have two corpora cavernosa which contain the erectile tissue.

An erection can be caused by more than just physical touch. Erections can also be driven by emotions, including sexual or arousing thoughts.

When an erection is caused by physical touch, this is called the reflex response through activation of the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS).³ When emotions cause it, this is the psychogenic response through certain pathways in the brain, including the limbic pathway, which is involved in emotional response.

The normal sexual function involves the coordination of several systems within the body. When any component is altered, this can affect the erectile response and cause ED.

ED can also result in the inability to have or keep an erection long enough for sexual intercourse. This, in turn, can cause male infertility.

Causes of ED

The causes of ED are often complex and multidimensional. Generally speaking, causes can be split into organic and non-organic causes.

Organic causes

Organic refers to specific changes in the body's anatomy, whereas non-organic relates to psychogenic causes.

ED was previously thought to be largely non-organic, but research has found that approximately 15–20% of ED cases⁴ in men under age 40 have an organic etiology.

Another organic cause of ED is reduced concentrations of testosterone, called hypogonadism.⁵ More research is needed to make conclusive claims about this.

Other causes relate to the nervous system, nerves, and blood vessels of the penis. This is because nerves control blood flow and the development and maintenance of an erection.

Non-organic causes

Non-organic refers to psychological factors. These include feelings of anxiety and stress or other heavy emotions. One example is getting “performance anxiety” and feeling anxious about performing in bed, resulting in an inability to obtain an erection.

Recent research⁶ has found that psychogenic causes are more prominent in the younger population than in older individuals. These causes are also often situation-dependent, and nocturnal erections can occur.

Diagnosis

To diagnose ED, you’ll need to visit your doctor or specialist. They may score your severity of ED to find a treatment option most suitable for you. The International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF-5)⁷ can measure the severity of ED with a point system. Here are the possible scores:

  • Severe = 5–7

  • Moderate = 8–11

  • Mild to moderate = 12–16

  • Mild = 17–21

  • No ED = 22–25

Blood test

Blood tests are ordered to investigate certain risk factors for organic causes, including your personal and family history.

For example, one ED test may look at diabetic markers such as cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood glucose levels. This is because diabetes and ED are closely linked.

PDDUS

The penile Doppler ultrasound (PDUS)⁸ is a procedure that measures blood flow to the penis before and after a vasodilator has been applied.

An improvement in blood flow would indicate a cardiovascular problem, which can be targeted with treatment.

Nocturnal penile tumescence test

The nocturnal penile tumescence (NPT)⁹ test detects potential nocturnal erections with a special electronic device.

An absence of erections indicates that there is an organic cause. This test is now rarely used due to its inaccurate and inconvenient method.

Injection test

The (intracavernosal) injection test¹⁰ is not very common in general. However, it can be useful in some cases.

This test involves the doctor injecting medicine into the base of the penis to try and produce an erection.

Vitamins and supplements to increase blood flow in the penis

Taking vitamins and supplements to help keep your body healthy has had mixed results¹¹ from researchers. But what if you want to increase blood flow to your penis?

Before you start taking any additional vitamins, it's important to ensure that you’re taking the right dosage and checking in with your doctor in case it interacts with any medications you are currently on.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is well-known for a reason. This vitamin helps the body absorb calcium and magnesium. While it’s found in some foods, it can also be synthesized from the sun.

Vitamin D can also help promote good blood flow by helping to keep the cells lining your blood vessels healthy.

Ginseng

Ginseng¹² is a herb commonly taken in many Asian countries for generations. It can help boost energy levels and improve male sexual function.

Ginseng is traditionally taken in a capsule, eaten raw, or as a powder to put in tea. You can even try to cook with some ginseng.

Yohimbe

Used for generations by natural healers to treat sexual dysfunction and ED, Yohimbe originates from the bark of a tree found in Africa.

The standardized version, Yohimbine, shows promising results in improving sexual function in combination with other treatments, although more research is still needed.

L-arginine

L-arginine¹³ is a type of amino acid that can help increase blood flow and expand the diameter of blood vessels.

L-arginine is usually taken as a supplement, although it can be found in some foods high in protein, like nuts and meat.

Horny goat weed

As the name suggests, horny goat weed is a popular option for many natural healers who believe it helps block an enzyme that restricts blood flow to the penis.

It’s also been utilized in China for generations to treat ED naturally.

Herbs that improve blood circulation

While traditional medication can work wonders in treating various health conditions, many have looked at alternative and less adverse ways of treating ED.

Herbal remedies have recently been increasingly popular in treating many health conditions.

While you may think herbal remedies work well for erectile dysfunction, there is limited research on the safety of herbal remedies and how they can be used for ED. Herbs should not be a complete replacement for the treatment options prescribed by your doctor.

Because the research is so limited, most research has surrounded cerebral blood flow and not necessarily blood flow to the penis.

A popular herb, Ashwagandha, was thought to be effective in treating ED. However, studies¹⁴ have not found any positive outcomes in men taking the herbal supplement for ED.

Other herbs that may help improve blood circulation include:

  • The Chinese herbal medicine Xueshuantong¹⁵ enhances cerebral blood flow

  • Lavender aromatherapy¹⁶ has relaxing properties that can improve circulation

  • Tulsi (holy basil)¹⁷ may improve blood pressure

  • Ginger

  • Garlic¹⁸

Do note that for these herbs, more research is needed before any conclusive claims can be made.

How to naturally improve blood flow

One way to naturally improve blood flow to the penis is through lifestyle changes.

Often, this is the easiest and most cost-effective way to do trial and error with different ways of treating an ED. Also, modifying lifestyle habits is non-invasive, and you’ll be able to get the support you need from loved ones.

Breaking unhealthy habits and building new ones can be challenging to do alone. If you or your partner are looking to make some changes to improve blood flow to the penis, encouragement, and persistence are needed. It may be more beneficial to join a support group to boost motivation.

Some lifestyle changes you could consider making to increase blood flow to the penis naturally include:

Exercise

Exercise is essential to a healthy lifestyle for people of all ages and demographics.

Exercise not only helps tone your muscles and keeps you fit, but it can strengthen your heart health and improve blood circulation. Yes, this means more blood pumping all over your body, including your penis. These effects can also be felt post-exercise.

Doctors recommend regular exercise¹⁹ for ED management. Evidence also suggests that moderate to high physical activities are associated with a lower risk²⁰ of ED.

Exercising with your partner or a family member can make this easier. They’ll offer some company, hold you accountable, and boost your motivation.

If you’re severely overweight or it’s been a while since you’ve been in the exercise game, try gentle aerobic exercises like cycling, power walking, light jogging, or swimming.

Stress management

Research has stated that the presence of anxiety disorders in the ED community is around 37%.²¹ To increase the blood flow to the penis naturally, try to find ways to relax to reduce stress and anxiety in your daily life.

While it might seem easier said than done, all it takes is some simple lifestyle tweaks. Here are some examples you can use to manage stress:

  • Getting up a bit earlier to incorporate a relaxing morning walk

  • Making a cup of herbal tea every night

  • Reading a book or magazine instead of tuning into social media

  • Taking yourself out for a day doing all your favorite things

  • 10 minutes of meditation daily using a guided meditation tool

  • Talking to a loved one in person or over the phone

  • Cuddling a pet

Massage

While it may seem like a strange way to increase blood flow to the penis naturally, massages are a great way to increase relaxation and decrease anxiety and worrisome thoughts.

You could get a partner or family member to give a massage. Alternatively, getting a professional massage therapist may be a worthwhile investment.

With so much happening in our daily lives, our brains can get cluttered with stress and anxiety. Those with anxiety disorders have a higher chance²² of developing ED, so a massage here and there can help quieten the mind and relax the muscles.

Apart from relaxation purposes, massages can also increase blood flow around the body and muscle temperature.

Fluid intake

Water is the most beneficial fluid for our bodies. There’s a link between dehydration and ED. A study²³ published in the Cambridge University Press found that dehydration impairs mood and cognitive function in men, potentially leading to anxiety.

ED and anxiety have been closely linked²⁴ across numerous studies, so you can try and incorporate more water into your daily life.

A great way is to bring a large water bottle around work, the gym, and when you’re out doing errands so you’ll always be reminded to drink up.

For an average adult male living in a temperate climate, no more than 3.7 liters of fluid will suffice.

Quit smoking

If you suffer from ED, it’s best to avoid smoking and taking hard drugs.

Tobacco increases the risk of having ED. Smoking can damage blood vessels throughout your body, and ED can be due to insufficient blood supply to the penis.

However, you may also want to tell your partner to quit smoking. Research²⁵ has shown that exposure to second-hand smoke — also known as passive smoke exposure — is also a risk factor for ED.

Luckily, stopping smoking now can be highly beneficial. Studies found that ED status improved after a year in over 25% of people²⁶ who quit smoking.

Diet

Some research²⁷ shows that lifestyle changes and adequate nutrition can positively affect your penis health and erections.

Since obesity can also contribute to the development of ED, implementing a healthier diet can help with weight loss.

In particular, the Mediterranean diet²⁸ links to a lower risk of ED. This anti-inflammatory diet can aid weight loss and is shown to improve symptoms.

The Mediterranean diet includes:

  • Seeds and nuts

  • Olive oil

  • Seafood

  • Whole grains

  • Fruits

  • Vegetables

And limits:

  • Full-fat dairy

  • Red meat

  • Added sugars

  • Sweetened foods and beverages

When to see a doctor

Anyone who thinks they have ED or has noticed a considerable change in erectile function and sexual health should talk to a health professional.

The doctor will generally take a brief health assessment and request blood tests to determine possible underlying causes of ED, such as diabetes.

Depending on the doctor’s examination, they will help determine the best treatment option based on the patient’s medical and family history and what they’re comfortable with.

They may discuss treatment options or refer the patient to a mental health professional to undergo talk therapy or counseling if the ED is psychologically caused. For those considering surgical treatment, they may refer them to a urologist.

The lowdown

If erectile dysfunction is a problem for you, there are numerous ways to treat the condition. While medication is a common treatment option, it can create potent side effects.

By taking specific vitamins and herbs alongside implementing healthier lifestyle changes, you may be able to increase blood flow to the penis naturally. It’s always good to check in with your doctor before taking drastic measures, as they’ll be able to advise the best course of action.

  1. Trends of male factor infertility, an important cause of infertility: A review of literature (2015)

  2. Erectile dysfunction in fit and healthy young men: Psychological or pathological? (2017)

  3. Neural control and physiology of sexual function: Effect of spinal cord injury (2017)

  4. Evaluation of young men with organic erectile dysfunction (2015)

  5. Hypogonadism and erectile dysfunction: The role for testosterone therapy (2003)

  6. Impact of erectile dysfunction and its subsequent treatment with sildenafil: Qualitative study (2004)

  7. International index of erectile function (IIEF-5) | Calculate by QxMD

  8. Penile doppler ultrasonography revisited (2018)

  9. AB132. Nocturnal penile tumescence monitoring: What have we done and what should we do? (2015)

  10. Intracavernosal injection for the diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of erectile dysfunction: A review (2015)

  11. Health effects of vitamin and mineral supplements (2020)

  12. Ginseng and male reproductive function (2013)

  13. L-Arginine improves vascular function by overcoming deleterious effects of ADMA, a novel cardiovascular risk factor (2005)

  14. Efficacy of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera Dunal. Linn.) in the management of psychogenic erectile dysfunction (2011)

  15. Chinese herbal medicine Xueshuantong enhances cerebral blood flow and improves neural functions in Alzheimer’s disease mice (2018)

  16. Relaxation effects of lavender aromatherapy improve coronary flow velocity reserve in healthy men evaluated by transthoracic doppler echocardiography (2008)

  17. The clinical efficacy and safety of Tulsi in humans: A systematic review of the literature (2017)

  18. Aged garlic extract preserves cutaneous microcirculation in patients with increased risk for cardiovascular diseases: A double-blinded placebo-controlled study (2019)

  19. Erectile dysfunction, physical activity and physical exercise: Recommendations for clinical practice (2019)

  20. Lifestyle modifications and erectile dysfunction: What can be expected? (2015)

  21. Erectile dysfunction in patients with anxiety disorders: A systematic review | ReasearchGate (2022)

  22. Erectile dysfunction in patients with anxiety disorders: A systematic review | NIH: National Library of Medicine (2022)

  23. Mild dehydration impairs cognitive performance and mood of men (2011)

  24. Erectile dysfunction in patients with anxiety disorders: A systematic review | Nature.com (2021)

  25. Association between smoking, passive smoking, and erectile dysfunction: Results from the Boston area community health (BACH) survey (2007)

  26. Do cigarette smokers with erectile dysfunction benefit from stopping?: A prospective study (2004)

  27. Alternative medicine and herbal remedies in the treatment of erectile dysfunction: A systematic review (2021)

  28. Mediterranean diet improves erectile function in subjects with the metabolic syndrome (2006)

Other sources:

Have you considered clinical trials for Erectile dysfunction?

We make it easy for you to participate in a clinical trial for Erectile dysfunction, and get access to the latest treatments not yet widely available - and be a part of finding a cure.

Joining community groups and exercise programs for my condition made me feel empowered – but I want to be part of finding a cure.
Peter, 64

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