How to increase blood flow to the penis naturally

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Science means that ED can be optional.

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Healthy blood flow is the most important aspect of your body’s ability to fight the effects of erectile dysfunction (ED). Good blood circulation determines the firmness of your erection, and can also play a vital role in determining how long you’re able to maintain an erection required for sexual activity.

If you’re among the millions of men worldwide looking to reduce ED symptoms, remember that: Healthy penis blood flow = a stronger erection.

What is ED?

ED is defined as the inability to maintain an erection after arousal, or the inability to achieve an erection at all.

The discomfort and emotional stress from these symptoms can feel overwhelming, and potentially create reduced confidence that can deteriorate your sexual health. Fortunately, there are a variety of lifestyle habits, remedies and medication-based treatments you can undergo, to overcome erectile dysfunction. 

If you’re suffering from erectile dysfunction, it’s important to realise that you’re not alone. The worldwide prevalence of erectile dysfunction is projected to impact 322 million men by 2025.

Before we examine how win the battle against ED, it is important to understand the root causes of ED. Understanding the reason you are experiencing ED will allow you to identify the areas of your life that require addressing.

What causes ED?

Erectile dysfunction and impotence occur when the body is not able to generate enough blood flow to the penis.

When you’re aroused, nerves in the brain send chemical messages, causing blood to enter the penis.

Both physical and psychological conditions can lead to your inability to achieve and maintain an erection.

Physical factors

Certain medical conditions – such as high cholesterol, elevated blood pressure, diabetes or obesity – can reduce blood flow to the penis, making it difficult to achieve and maintain an erection.

Some conditions have a higher correlation to sexual dysfunction than others. Estimates indicate that as many as 75% of diabetic men may suffer from ED. In fact, the onset of ED can occur 10-15 years earlier in men with diabetes. 

Age is another major factor in your risk of developing ED. As many as 50% of men may experience some form of sexual dysfunction whilst in their 50s.

Other physical triggers resulting in erectile dysfunction may include:

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Fatigue
  • Brain or spinal cord injuries
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Certain medications, primarily those that alter hormonal balance or blood flow

Psychological factors

Performance anxiety can greatly impact your ability to achieve and maintain an erection. Often, anxiety can have a snowball effect. If you struggle to gain an erection once, the next sexual encounter may leave you worrying that it will happen again. Performance anxiety is one of the more common reasons why healthy men go soft during sex.

You’ve undoubtedly heard the expression “where the mind goes, the body follows.” This can certainly be the case when pertaining to sexual dysfunction.

Other psychological factors that can cause ED include:

  • Relationship issues
  • Stress
  • A lack of physical attraction to a sexual partner

How is it diagnosed?

There is a strong link between obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and ED. If you have an existing condition linked to sexual dysfunction, your doctor or healthcare provider may want to check that it is controlled, as mismanagement of the symptoms surrounding the condition can have a wider impact on your general health.

If you do not have any existing medical conditions, your general practitioner may run tests, such as measuring your blood pressure or carrying out a blood test. These tests can determine your blood sugar levels, testosterone levels, thyroid levels and cholesterol levels. Uncontrolled levels can cause ED, and so your doctor’s first job will be to bring these elements under control.

Your physician will also ask certain questions in order to identify the root cause of your ED and look for clues to help overcome it. For example, lack of a morning erection and reduced libido can indicate low testosterone levels. The need to urinate frequently, chronic headaches, dizzy spells and a sense of lethargy can point to diabetes. Chronic headaches may also be associated with high blood pressure.

Your doctor or pharmacist may also look to ask questions about your mental health. Depression, low self-esteem and anxiety can be major contributors to a reduced sexual appetite. 

Essentially, the aim is to get to the bottom of what is causing your ED, so that a plan of action can be laid out.

Here are 10 helpful ways you can improve blood flow.

10 tips to increase blood flow to the penis


Not only does physical activity promote healthy blood flow, but it allows for the release of the neurotransmitters dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin (the ‘feel good hormones’). This can help to elevate your mood, helping to regulate the psychological factors that contribute to ED.


Pelvic floor exercises and stretches can contribute to a firmer erection. Stretching and opening the groin area facilitates improved blood flow. The more you target this area, the more you will be able to control your pelvic floor muscles, which may also aid in controlling your orgasm and prolonging your duration in the bedroom.

Maintain a healthy weight

There is a direct correlation between obesity and higher rates of sexual dysfunction in men, regardless of age. Being overweight or carrying excess body fat may also reduce your testosterone levels and inhibit your sex drive. A diminished appetite for sex can manifest itself physically with the inability to achieve an erection hard enough for intercourse

Studies have proven a link between weight loss and improved sexual function. Therefore, maintaining a healthy weight should be considered as part of your overall prevention protocol.

Quit smoking

The nicotine contained in tobacco acts as a vasoconstrictor and effectively reduces blood flow throughout the body. In addition to its carcinogenic properties, nicotine can damage your blood vessels and reduce your lung capacity.

Since preventing erectile dysfunction means encouraging healthy blood flow, quitting smoking may help mitigate further damage. An increase in your cardiovascular health can leave you lasting longer in the bedroom whilst benefiting from unimpeded blood flow.


90% of blood plasma is water, which means it will flow best when you hydrate with water. Dehydration means there is a lower volume of blood, which could in turn prevent your organs from receiving oxygen and nutrients. Drinking water consistently throughout the day is an easy and effective way to ensure your body is primed and ready for sex.

One study observed the effects of mild dehydration on cognitive function and mood, and determined that drinking water many times a day can play a significant role in improving both state of mind and motor skills. Since ED is both a physiological and physical opponent, remaining hydrated can help you fight the battle on both fronts.

Manage stress levels

Men with heightened levels of stress and other anxiety disorders are prime candidates for developing erectile dysfunction.

When you’re stressed, it’s hard to relax and focus on the good things in life. The circumstances surrounding your heightened stress can allow an increased cortisol production in the body, which can lead to impaired cognitive responses and blood sugar imbalances. 

These abnormal anxiety responses can lead to a distraction from the sexual stimuli that result in an erection, inhibiting your ability to relax and enjoy sex. During periods of heightened stress, hormones are released into the bloodstream that force you to enter a ‘flight or flight’ response. Whilst in the throes of this instinctual state, sex drops to the bottom of the body’s priority list.


A lack of quality sleep leads to diminished cognitive function, which may allow the psychological triggers that cause ED to creep in. What’s more, getting less than the recommended eight hours of sleep leads to physical degradation, such as poorer circulation and lower levels of testosterone.

Consume foods which can help stimulate blood flow to the penis

You are what you eat, so consuming foods that improve blood flow and kick start testosterone production is one way to diminish your chances of sexual impairment. Next to medication-based treatments, your doctor or pharmacist will likely point to an improved diet as the most important way to combat impotence. 

Maintaining a balanced diet that is rich in essential nutrients promotes healthy blood flow throughout the body. 

Foods and ingredients to improve blood flow include:

  • Fatty Fish: Salmon and other fish high in omega-3 fatty acids help promote healthy blood pressure.
  • Cinnamon: Cinnamon boasts a variety of anti-inflammatory properties and may dilate and relax blood vessels, allowing for a stronger blood flow.
  • Fruits: Citrus fruits like lemons and oranges are full of antioxidants and flavonoids. Flavonoids can help eliminate toxins in the body and manage the symptoms of cardiovascular disease. Bananas are rich in potassium and magnesium, and can help relax and widen blood vessels.
  • Spinach and leafy greens: Rich in nitric oxide – a chemical that promotes the expansion of your arteries to allow for greater blood flow – leafy greens like kale and arugula should be a staple of your diet. 
  • Coffee: Many men will be relieved to learn that their morning ritual can actually improve the quality of their erection. That’s because caffeine works to relax the smooth muscles of the penis, allowing for improved blood flow. One study suggests that drinking 2-3 cups of coffee per day could lower your risk of developing ED symptoms.
  • Nuts: Walnuts, cashews and pistachios can promote good cholesterol levels and keep bad cholesterol from blocking blood flow to your arteries. Pistachios in particular are full of arginine, which helps to encourage the production of penis-helping nitric oxide.
  • Foods that are rich in spice: Hot peppers, hot sauce and other spicy foods and ingredients can have testosterone-boosting properties. Spicy foods can kickstart your metabolism, and a high metabolism often correlates with elevated testosterone levels. When consuming spicy food, your liver turns food into cholesterol, which is then converted into the steroid hormone pregnenolone. Pregnenolone converts to dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), which eventually converts to testosterone. The end result? More spice in the kitchen could lead to more spice in the bedroom.
  • Dark chocolate: Packed with flavonoids, dark chocolate works to improve heart health and promote blood flow.
  • Turmeric: Turmeric is rich in curcumin, an agent that promotes healthy blood flow and a reduction in inflammation when consumed regularly. Turmeric is a spice commonly found in curry, mustard, butter and certain types of cheese.
  • Garlic: Whilst garlic on the breath may be something to be mindful of when engaging in sexual activity, studies have determined that garlic can have a positive effect on blood flow.
  • Onions: Onions are rich in antioxidants and flavonoids. Consuming onions in your diet may help dilate your arteries and ensure that blood is able to flow unimpeded to the penis.

Foods to avoid if you suffer from erectile dysfunction

Just as there are healthy foods rich in vitamins and minerals, there are those which can inhibit blood flow and encourage bouts of ED. Foods that are rich in salt, sugar and trans fats should be avoided if you’re suffering from erectile difficulties. 

  • Excess salt can damage your blood vessels and limit blood flow to the penis. 
  • Too much sugar and you run the risk of developing diabetes, a condition that is linked to an increased likelihood of ED.
  • Trans fats provide no real nutritional benefit and can lead to excess weight gain and obesity. Obesity is linked to a significant risk of becoming impotent.

Vitamins and supplements

Sometimes a healthy diet isn’t enough to effectively cover all of your nutritional needs. 

Here are a few vitamins and supplements that you can take to ensure you’re promoting healthy blood flow to the penis:

  • Red Ginseng – otherwise known as ‘herbal Viagra’ – can also promote increased blood flow and be beneficial for the heart.
  • L-arginine encourages nitric oxide production, which can help to improve blood flow throughout the arteries of the penis.
  • L-carnitine improves blood flow and encourages healthy sperm production. 


Medication to help blood flow in the penis

PDE5 inhibitors such as Viagra, work by improving blood flow in the penis. They are the only clinically proven treatments available on the market. 

ED treatments like sildenafil (sold under the brand name Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis) and vardenafil (Levitra) work by inhibiting the production of the artery-constricting enzyme PDE5 within the body. When taken correctly as advised by your doctor or pharmacist, these drugs promote blood flow to the penis upon sexual stimulation. 

Here’s how today’s leading prescription medications can allow for a firm and healthy erection:

  • Sildenafil: The generic version of branded Viagra, sildenafil takes 30-60 minutes to work and is available in 25mg, 50mg and 100mg doses. Sildenafil is considered to be a safe and effective long-term ED treatment. It works in the same way as Viagra, as it contains the same ingredient, and is seen as a most cost-effective alternative to Viagra.
  • Cialis: This medication offers two alternative ways to ensure a firm erection. When taken in 2.5mg or 5mg doses, ‘Cialis Daily’ offers a continuous supply of the medication. This treatment is perfect for those who prefer spontaneity in their sex lives, as the drug is constantly in your system. Alternatively, Cialis 36-hour or ‘the weekend pill’ is available in 10mg and 20 mg doses, and provides up to 36 hours of effectiveness.
  • Tadalafil: The generic version of Cialis, tadalafil offers a continuous effect if taken in 2.5mg or 5mg doses, and prolonged effect in the 10mg and 20mg version. One of the newer drugs used to treat impotence, tadalafil has quickly become one of the most popular medications on the market.
  • Vardenafil: Available in 5mg, 10mg and 20mg tablets, vardenafil or branded Levitra are taken around 25 minutes before sexual activity, and provide an effect lasting up to four hours. Vardenafil tablets are more potent than sildenafil, and therefore require a lower dosage.

Which popular ED medication is right for you?

Of the common ED treatments available today, sildenafil (Viagra) and Tadalafil (Levitra) are the most popular. But which – sildenafil or tadalafil – is right for you? While tadalafil has a longer duration of action and kicks in faster, some men prefer sildenafil. It’s largely a matter of personal preference and determining which provides you with the best results.

The Bottom Line

There are multiple ways to increase blood flow to the penis naturally. The aim is to get as much blood pumping around your body, including down below.

If you’re still experiencing ED symptoms after making changes to your diet and lifestyle, it is important to see your doctor, as ED can point to unmanaged areas of your health that require addressing.

Medications such as sildenafil or tadalafil are available to help increase blood flow to penis. Other devices, such as cock rings, are also popular. Combining the advice of your medical professional with some experimentation in the bedroom may provide the perfect formula to defeat ED symptoms once and for all.

Whilst all of our content is written and reviewed by healthcare professionals, it is not intended to be substituted for or used as medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns about your health, please speak to your doctor.