Dr Bhanu Gupta and colleagues from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota examined data from six clinical trials involving 740 patients.
These included four studies, involving 597 patients, looking at the effect of lifestyle modification, including dietary changes and increased physical exercise.
They found that lifestyle changes resulted in an average 2.4-point change on the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF).
The researchers said that such an improvement would be clinically significant for patients with mild erectile dysfunction, but not for those with more severe disease. They commented: ‘Lifestyle interventions focused on modifiable health behaviours may be a safe strategy to improve erectile dysfunction and reduce cardiovascular risk factors.’
Use of medicines alongside lifestyle modification led to be an average change of 2.66 on IIEF scale, the researchers found.
Dr Gupta and her colleagues said they thought the study was the first systematic analysis of studies of the impact of lifestyle changes on erectile dysfunction.
They said their research strengthened the evidence that lifestyle interventions and cardiovascular risk reduction can improvement in erectile function.
‘Men with erectile dysfunction provide an opportunity to identify cardiovascular risk factors and initiate lifestyle changes.’
They added: ‘We hope that in addition to critically appraising the evidence, we have provided an estimate of the effect of lifestyle changes on ED that is as close to the truth as possible.’